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Electrolyte Imbalances mean what?

Our pathology results may include electrolyte results. They are the 'E' in 'UEC' test request. What are they and what do imbalances in the results mean?

Electrolytes are minerals in our body that carry an electric charge. They help regulate many of our body systems including heart rhythms, nerves, and muscles. They are also involved in helping maintain the amount of fluid and the acid-base balance in our bodies. The kidneys control electrolyte concentrations in the blood so the most common cause of electrolyte imbalance is kidney dysfunction.

What do Electrolyte Imbalances Mean?

Electrolyte tests are used along with other tests to assess how well the following are working:

  • Kidneys

  • Liver

  • Hormones

Your kidneys work to keep electrolyte concentrations in the blood at a constant level no matter what changes take place in the body. They do this through the reabsorption of electrolytes back into the blood or by elimination into the urine. Therefore, the most common cause of electrolyte imbalance is when our kidneys aren't working properly. This is known as kidney dysfunction.

Picture showing where kidneys are located in the body.
Kidneys work to keep electrolyte concentrations at a constant level.

In addition, electrolytes can give you an early heads up warning that things are not optimal. This is discussed with each of the individual electrolytes below.

If you would like to discuss your own pathology results in line with your own personal circumstances, feel free to make a booking with me on the bookings tab on my website.

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