Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Overview Symptoms

Abnormal Blood Electrolytes Overview

Another name for Abnormal Blood Electrolytes is Electrolyte Imbalance.

What is an electrolyte imbalance?
A person with an electrolyte imbalance does not have the normal amount of sodium, potassium, or another electrolyte in the bloodstream. When there is an electrolyte imbalance, body salts become higher or lower than normal. Electrolyte imbalance is commonly seen with dehydration. Electrolyte imbalance may occur as the result of repeated vomiting or diarrhea. It can also occur as the result of a drug side effect or a drug overdose. Diuretic medications are the most common cause of medication-related electrolyte imbalance.

What are the symptoms of an electrolyte imbalance?
Common symptoms of an electrolyte imbalance include weakness, fatigue, faintness, and muscle spasms. Other symptoms include the absence of urination for more than 8 hours, dry mouth, dry skin, dizziness, fainting, nausea, vomiting, and rapid pulse. A severe electrolyte imbalance may cause slow heart rate, palpitations, low blood pressure, confusion, lethargy, and coma.

How does the doctor treat an electrolyte imbalance?
Treatment for an electrolyte imbalance depends on the underlying cause and the severity of the electrolyte abnormality. Treatment may include cardiac monitoring, intravenous fluids and supplemental electrolytes.

Continue to Abnormal Blood Electrolytes Symptoms

Last Updated: Aug 18, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Abnormal Blood Electrolytes References
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  2. Posthauer ME. Hydration: an essential nutrient. Adv Skin Wound Care. 2005 Jan-Feb;18(1):32-3. [15714035]
  3. Sentongo TA. The use of oral rehydration solutions in children and adults. Curr Gastroenterol Rep. 2004 Aug;6(4):307-13. [15245700]
  4. Ulrickson M. Oral rehydration therapy in children with acute gastroenteritis. JAAPA. 2005 Jan;18(1):24-29. [15675116]
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