URL of this page: https://medlineplus.gov/fluidandelectrolytebalance.html

Fluid and Electrolyte Balance

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Summary

Electrolytes are minerals in your body that have an electric charge. They are in your blood, urine, tissues, and other body fluids. Electrolytes are important because they help

  • Balance the amount of water in your body
  • Balance your body's acid/base (pH) level
  • Move nutrients into your cells
  • Move wastes out of your cells
  • Make sure that your nerves, muscles, the heart, and the brain work the way they should

Sodium, calcium, potassium, chlorine, phosphate, and magnesium are all electrolytes. You get them from the foods you eat and the fluids you drink.

The levels of electrolytes in your body can become too low or too high. This can happen when the amount of water in your body changes. The amount of water that you take in should equal the amount you lose. If something upsets this balance, you may have too little water (dehydration) or too much water (overhydration). Some medicines, vomiting, diarrhea, sweating, and liver or kidney problems can all upset your water balance.

Treatment helps you to manage the imbalance. It also involves identifying and treating what caused the imbalance.

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