Electrolytes are substances in the human body and their balance is crucial for normal function of the cells as well as the organs. Electrolytes have important functions in human organism:

Magnesium is needed for more than 300 biochemical reactions in the organism, including: it helps in muscle contraction, supports proper heart rhythm, assists the function of the nerves, lowers anxiety, helps the process of digestion, promotes bone strength and has important role in balancing the protein fluid;

Sodium assists the nerve signaling, muscle contractions and in same time is in charge for maintain of the fluid balance;

Calcium prevents formation of blood clots and blood clotting, it is involved in formation and maintains the bones and teeth healthy and also helps muscle contraction and cell division;

Chloride maintains the fluid balance;

Potassium promotes proper function of the muscles and also is responsible for regulation of blood pressure and heart contractions.

There are many different causes for electrolyte imbalance, and the most common are:

  • Unhealthy diet
  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Improper absorption of food nutrients
  • Chemotherapy treatments
  • Use of antibiotics
  • Kidney damage or disease
  • Sickness
  • Medications

The most common symptoms that indicate electrolyte imbalance are:

Insomnia

  • Muscle aches, spasms, twitches and weakness;
  • Thirst;
  • Fever;
  • Irregular heartbeats or heart palpitations;
  • Anxiety;
  • Frequent headaches;
  • Joint pain and numbness;
  • Restlessness;
  • Irregular blood pressure;
  • Fluctuations in weight and appetite;
  • Fatigue (chronic fatigue symptom)
  • Bones problems;
  • Difficulties concentrating and an overall confusion;
  • Dizziness, particularly when standing up suddenly;
  • Cramps, constipation or diarrhea;

If you experience any of the above-mentioned symptoms you need to visit a medical expert and make some tests. In order to check your electrolyte levels and discover the cause of the irregularities, you should make blood and urine tests and do an EKG test.

When the electrolyte levels are outside the normal values, the doctor will diagnose an electrolyte deficiency.

Medical experts estimated that these are the normal levels:

  • Potassium: 5 – 3 mEq/L
  • Calcium: 5 – 5 mEq/L
  • Sodium: 136 – 145 mEq/L
  • Chloride: 97 – 107 mEq/L
  • Magnesium:5 – 2.5 mEq/L

Digestive issues, such as constipation, diarrhea, cramps and hemorrhoids indicate that the electrolyte levels in your body are irregular, either low or high.

If the sodium levels in your organism are elevated, you will experience confusion, dizziness and irritability. If is left untreated, high sodium amount in the body might lead to seizures, delirious states and even fall into a coma.

Reduced magnesium levels are manifested with anxiety and trouble with sleeping, and after certain period of time, lack of magnesium might cause tiredness, night sweats, difficulties to fall asleep, muscle spasms and increased heartbeats.

At most patients, high potassium levels cause heartbeat changes. Doctors explain that if you have this condition you may develop hyperkalemia, and this medical condition often interferes with the normal signals from nerves and muscles, and leads to tingly, weak or numb muscles.

Bone pain, vomiting, bone fractures, painful kidney stones and constipation are some of the health problems that are caused by extremely high calcium levels.

If you are dehydrated and if you have low magnesium and potassium levels, you will start having muscle spasms.

Treatment of electrolyte imbalance

In order to treat electrolyte imbalance, it is crucial properly to hydrate your body. Namely, you need to drink plenty of water because by changing the amount of water in the body, the balance of the electrolytes changes, as well.

Also, it is extremely important to hydrate your body after exercising. Make sure to drink lots of water, before, during and after the workouts.

Start consuming healthy food, including home-cooked meals, lots of fruits and veggies and avoid processed and fast food. It is highly advisable to start consuming more leafy greens, bananas, avocados, cabbage, squash, cruciferous vegetables, sweet potatoes and broccoli. Also, nutritionists recommend consummation of coconut water, citrus fruits, celery, cucumber, watermelon, pineapple, kefir, yogurt, kiwi, bell peppers, carrots, etc.

Monitor the sodium intake, and this particularly refers to people who consume processed and packaged foods. Always read the label and check the amount of sodium added because these products usually contain high amounts of sodium.

Patients who are taking medications should be particularly cautious, because certain medicines, including diuretics, antibiotics, hormonal pills, cancer treatments, and blood pressure medications, affect the levels of electrolytes in the body.

Last, but not least, you can start taking supplements. Namely, if you cannot regulate the levels of the important nutrients in your organism, even after making lifestyle changes, you should visit a doctor and consult about proper supplements.