Serum Electrolyte

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Overview
Interpretations
FAQ's
Tests Included

Overview of Serum Electrolyte

What is Serum Electrolyte?

Electrolytes are minerals which are present in the blood and body tissues and are essential for metabolism, for proper nerve and muscle functioning, for maintenance of proper water balance, and proper blood pH (acid-base balance). The serum electrolyte test includes a group of tests to measure the following electrolytes: Sodium (Na+), Potassium (K+) and Chloride (Cl-).

Sample Type

The sample type collected for Serum Electrolyte is: Blood

Preparation for Serum Electrolyte

  • No special preparation required

Why Get Tested for Serum Electrolyte?

The Serum Electrolyte Test is performed:

·     As a part of a routine health checkup

·     To assess problems in the water and pH balance of the body

·     As part of the checkup to diagnose kidney diseases

·     Upon the appearance of symptoms indicating neuromuscular conditions like muscular weakness, irregular heartbeats or cardiac arrhythmia, etc.

·     At regular intervals to monitor the progress of condition and treatment efficacy while undergoing treatment for hypertension, kidney diseases, and metabolic acidosis

·     To monitor patients who are receiving diuretic therapy, intravenous fluids, or dialysis



Understand more about Serum Electrolyte

Electrolytes play an important role in a number of body functions like metabolism, neuromuscular functioning, maintaining hydration and pH (acid-base balance). Electrolytes also help in the entry of nutrients into the cells and removal of waste products from the cells. Electrolytes carry an electrical charge, either negative or positive and exist as dissolved salts in blood and body tissues. The Serum Electrolyte test measures the following important electrolytes:


Sodium (Na+)

Sodium is an essential body electrolyte which, along with potassium, chloride, bicarbonate, etc., helps to maintain the normal fluid and pH balance of the body. It is also vital for cellular metabolism, and in the activity of nerves and muscles and transmission of impulses between them. Sodium is present in all body fluids and is found in highest concentration in the blood and extracellular fluid.

Sodium is supplied to the body principally through dietary salt (sodium chloride or NaCl), and a small portion through other food items. The required portion is absorbed by the body and the remaining is excreted by the kidneys through urine. The concentration of sodium in the blood is maintained within a very narrow range by the body by three mechanisms:

·         Secretion of hormones natriuretic peptides and aldosterone to control sodium elimination through urine

·         Secretion of antidiuretic hormone (ADH), also called Vasopressin, to control the volume of water eliminated through urine

·         Induction of thirst

Any disruption in these mechanisms gives rise to an imbalance in blood sodium concentrations to produce Hyponatremia (low blood sodium concentration), or Hypernatremia (high blood sodium concentration). Both these conditions produce a number of symptoms and may even lead to death.


Potassium (K+)

Potassium is one of the essential body electrolytes along with sodium, chloride, bicarbonate, etc. As an electrolyte, potassium helps to regulate the amount of fluids present in the body and to maintain a correct pH balance. It performs a vital role in cellular metabolism and transport of nutrients and waste products in and out of cells. It is also essential in transmission of nerve impulses to muscles and muscle activity.

Sufficient amount of potassium required by the body is absorbed from dietary sources, and the remaining unabsorbed potassium is excreted by the kidneys. Body potassium is maintained within a small normal range principally by the hormone aldosterone.

Aldosterone acts on the nephrons in the kidneys and activates a sodium-potassium pump which helps the body to reabsorb sodium and excrete potassium. This helps to maintain the potassium concentration in the blood within its normal range. Deviation of potassium concentration from its normal range gives rise to Hyperkalemia (high potassium level in blood), or Hypokalemia (low potassium level in blood). Both these conditions may produce a number of symptoms, and may even be fatal if not controlled.


Chloride (Cl-)

Chloride is an essential mineral which acts as an electrolyte along with potassium, sodium, bicarbonate, etc. and helps to maintain the normal fluid and electrolyte balance of the body. It also acts as a buffer to help maintain the pH balance of the body. It also plays essential roles in metabolism. Chloride is used to produce hydrochloric acid (HCl) by the stomach for digestion. Chloride is present in all body fluids and is found in highest concentration in the blood and extracellular fluid ((fluid present outside the cells)).

Most of the chloride is supplied to the body through dietary salt (sodium chloride or NaCl), and a small portion through other food items. The required portion is absorbed by the body and the remaining is excreted by the kidneys through urine. The concentration of chloride in blood is maintained within a very narrow range by the body and usually increases or decreases in direct correlation with sodium levels. Chloride levels are maintained within a very narrow concentration range in blood.


What Results of Serum Electrolyte mean?

Interpretations

Sodium (Na+)


Normal range: 135 to 145 mmol/L

Hyponatremia: Below 135 mmol/L

Hypernatremia: Above 145 mmol/L

Sodium concentration in the body is maintained within a narrow normal range between 135 mmol/L and 145 mmol/L.

Hyponatremia or low blood sodium is indicated if sodium concentration lies below the normal range.

Hypernatremia or high blood sodium is indicated if sodium concentration lies above the normal range.


Potassium (K+)


Normal range: 3.5 to 5.0mmol/L (136.5 to 195μg/ml approx.)

Hypokalemia: Below 3.5mmol/L (Less than 136.5μg/ml approx.)

Hyperkalemia: Above 5.0mmol/L (Above 195μg/ml approx.)

Potassium concentration in the body is maintained within a narrow normal range between 3.5mmol/L and 5.0mmol/L.

Hypokalemia or low blood potassium is indicated if potassium concentration lies below the normal range.

Hyperkalemia or high blood potassium is indicated if potassium concentration lies above the normal range.



Chloride (Cl-)


Normal reference range:

  • Adults: 98 to 106 mEq/L (milliequivalents per liter)

  • Children: 90 to 110 mEq/L

  • Newborn: 96 to 106 mEq/L

       

Higher than normal chloride level is called Hyperchloremia.

Lower than normal chloride level is called Hypochloremia.



Patient Concerns about Serum Electrolyte

Frequently Asked Questions about Serum Electrolyte

Q. How is this test performed?
This test is performed on a blood sample. A syringe with a fine needle attached is used to withdraw blood sample from a blood vessel in your arm generally from the inner side of the elbow area. The doctor, nurse or the phlebotomist will tie an elastic band around your arm which will help the blood vessels to swell with blood and hence makes it easier to withdraw blood. You may be asked to tightly clench your fist. Once the veins are clearly visible, the area is cleaned with an antiseptic solution and then the needle is inserted into the blood vessel to collect the sample. You may feel a tiny pinprick during the procedure. Blood sample once collected is then sent to the laboratory.
Q. Is there any risk associated with this test?
There is no risk associated with the test. However, as this test involves a needle prick to withdraw the blood sample, rarely, a patient may experience increased bleeding, hematoma (blood collection under the skin) formation, bruising or infection at the site of needle prick.
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Tests Included in Serum Electrolyte(3 tests)

  • Chloride
  • Sodium
  • Potassium

Provided By

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Thyrocare Technologies Limited is India's first and most advanced Totally Automated Laboratory having its strong presence in more than 2000 cities / towns in India and internationally. Thyrocare is India's first fully automated diagnostic laboratory with a focus on providing quality at affordable costs to laboratories and hospitals in India and other countries. Thyrocare operates with a Centralized Processing Laboratory (CPL) in Mumbai - India for esoteric tests; and Regional Processing Laboratory in major metro cities of India and other parts of Asia. We have focus on strong technologies, strong brands and strong systems that enable all laboratories to give their clients the best of science and technology at an affordable cost. With a belief that 'Quality' is the heart of any intelligent management, Thyrocare became one of the first Indian diagnostic laboratories to obtain internationally renowned quality accreditations like ISO 9001-2000 rating as early as 2001, which is now escalated to ISO 9001:2008; NABL (National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories) in 2005 and CAP (College of American Pathologists) certification in 2007.
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