CAROL’S CORNER

Welcome back to Carol's Corner. Hope everyone enjoyed reading Sarah's story yesterday. Hope to feature someone else's story soon. It was a very dismal day here in Central New York. Rainy and cold. Guess the nice weather was just a tease. Today is one of my more casual outfits. Had to go back to long pants till the weather heats back up again. This is my skinniest of skinny jeans, my one and only size six from New York and Company. Calling this outfit, ” Cloudy Days And Stormy Nights”, which actually goes along with the weather here today.

Just a plain FitBit Combo today , but kind of goes with the theme.

And what can I say about my latest manicure, I totally love it. It makes me feel happy just looking at it.

So for today's topic I asked for suggestions, so just going to take them in the order I got them. Received three good ones.

I'm going to take on the topic of proper hydration, electrolyte balance, and how too much water can be a bad thing. I'm thinking that this topic might take up more than one day, so we'll just get started and see what happens.

I think before we get to the topic of hydration we should get an explanation of what electrolytes are and the function they serve in our body. This information comes from the U.S. National Library Of Medicine. Electrolytes are minerals in your body that have an electric charge. They are in your blood, urine, and body fluids. Maintaining the right balance of electrolytes helps your body's blood chemistry, muscle action, and other processes. Sodium, calcium, potassium, chlorine, phosphate, and magnesium, are all electrolytes. You get them from the foods you eat and the fluids you drink.

Levels of electrolytes in your body can become too low or too high . That can happen when the amount of water in your body changes, causing dehydration, or over hydration. Causes include some medicines, vomiting, diarrhea, sweating or kidney problems. Problems most often occur with levels of sodium, potassium or calcium.

So let's explore a little more about the importance of electrolyte balance in the body. This next information comes from live strong.com in an article titled “The importance of electrolyte balance in the body”.

So we explained a little already about what they were. Like we stated above, electrolytes are charged particles found in body fluids that help transmit electrical impulses for functioning of the heart, muscles, and nerves. A balance of electrolytes ( sodium, potassium, magnesium, and calcium) Is necessary for the normal functioning of cells which are the basic structure and functioning of life.

SIGNIFICANCE

Acorrding to “Patient Care ” uncorrected electrolyte abnormalities can threaten several body systems, including cardiovascular, gastrointestinal , and central nervous systems. An imbalance in electrolytes can result in paralysis, seizures , cardiac or respitory arrest, or even death.

POTASSIUM

Potassium plays a major role in nerve, blood vessel and cardiac functioning. High levels of potassium, also called hyperkalemia, will slow cardiac conduction and if not treated will cause cardiac arrest. Severe hyperkalemia requires immediate intervention with the antidote calcium chloride or calcium gluconate. Low levels of potassium can cause muscle weakness and leg cramps, drowsiness and confusion; loss of appetite and abnormal heartbeat. For low levels of potassium, replacing potassium either with a potassium supplement or through an intervenous solution is the treatment.

SODIUM

Sodium's primary function is the transmission of nerve impulses. Water follows salt in the body, so an excess or loss in sodium results in a gain or loss in water. Too much sodium will cause the cells to become dehydrated, and patients will develop thirst, a fast heart rate, and fatigue. As the dehydration worsens, confusion, weakness, and muscle twitching will develop. If left untreated, high levels of sodium, called hypernatremia, can lead to seizures, coma, or death. Low levels of sodium, also known as hyponatremia will cause fatigue and confusion and requires treatment with replacement supplements.

MAGNESIUM

According to the publication “RN”, magnesium is responsible for reactions that involve muscle function, energy production, and carbohydrate and protein metabolism. Increased levels of magnesium, or hypermagnesium , can result in respiratory depression, low blood pressure and a slow heart rate. Kidney failure is the most common cause of hypermagnesium. Low levels of magnesium cause cardiac muscle irritability, leading to abnormal heartbeat.

CALCIUM

Calcium is an electrolyte with multiple functions. Not only does calcium help with transmitting nerve impulses, but it also has a role in activating the body's clotting mechanism. Calcium is best known for it role in forming strong bones and teeth. In addition, calcium is involved in contracting cardiac and smooth muscles. Both high and low levels of calcium can cause bone pain, sudden seizures and muscle tremors. Abnormal levels of calcium in cardiac and smooth muscles can progress to circulatory collapse, which mean vessels of the heart, arteries, and veins shut down.

CONSIDERATIONS

The regulation of electrolytes involve multiple body systems and is essential to maintaining an equilibrium for functioning. The primary responsibility for maintaining electrolyte balance is the function of the kidneys.

As you can see maintaining an electrolyte balance affects many systems in our body and just one major imbalance can have dire consequences. I will continue tomorrow with the subject of hydration as I had a few things that kept me from getting this done earlier. But I think it was good to learn a little about electrolytes and the role they play. I know I learned a lot doing this, as I do many times as I pursue a topic. Hope to see you all back for part two. Till next time, God Bless.










 

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