Overview of Serum Electrolyte
What is Serum Electrolyte?
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 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 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 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?
The normal range of serum electrolytes may vary from lab to lab.
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 indicates that sodium concentration lies below the normal range.
Hypernatremia or high blood sodium indicates that sodium concentration lies above the normal range.
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 indicates that potassium concentration lies below the normal range.
Hyperkalemia or high blood potassium indicates that potassium concentration lies above the normal range.
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
Tests Included in Serum Electrolyte(3 tests)