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Electrolyte Imbalance Symptoms

Published by Nanni on Saturday, September 01, 2012

Photo credit by michelle.schrank

Electrolytes are essential for good health. Electrolyte imbalance can be caused by a poor diet, excessive perspiration, and consuming an excessive amount of water which results in these elements being flushed out of the body. If you are experiencing symptoms of electrolyte imbalance, it is best that you not use any over the counter products without your doctor's approval. The reason for this is that attempting to self-correct potassium or sodium deficiency can lead to health problems of its own.

Electrolyte deficiency can cause drowsiness, weakness, confusion, and disorientation. These can occur from both potassium deficiency and sodium deficiency. You may experience tiredness, or fatigue. A lack of sufficient calcium can cause cramps in the muscles, numbness in the limbs, and assorted aches and pains in the body. If these symptoms are not treated, and allowed to worsen, complications can include seizures and heart problems.

A fact which many people do not know is that too much of a good thing is equally unhealthy. Your heart can be affected by a too-high level of potassium. At its worst, too high a level of sodium can result in coma or seizures. This is why self-medicating, especially with over the counter preparations, is not a good idea. Proper treatment of electrolyte imbalances is best left to your physician.

In general, it is not difficult to avoid electrolyte imbalance. Although some prescription medications do place a person at risk of developing electrolyte imbalances, most average healthy people can avoid the problem simply by adopting a healthier lifestyle.

One way to avoid electrolyte imbalance is a good diet. Foods which are rich in potassium, such as bananas and mushrooms, can become a favorite part of your dietary routine. If you are not on a sodium-restricted diet, consuming a reasonable amount of sodium is a positive way to prevent sodium deficiency. Calcium deficiency can be avoided by including calcium-rich foods in the daily diet. A tasty assortment of dairy foods is at the top of the list. Calcium can also be found in some vegetables and shell fish.

There are also beverages which are known as sports drinks. Gatorade has long been a favored drink amongst athletes and other people who are physically active. Although it tastes great, the main reason for this is that it helps prevent electrolyte imbalances. The person who is very active, especially during the summer months, can suffer from the symptoms of electrolyte imbalance. Routine, but reasonable, use of these products can replenish the supply of electrolytes in the body which one tends to lose through excessive perspiration. For the average, healthy person, these products are as safe for children as they are for adults.

For most people, electrolyte imbalances are unnecessary. If you do begin experiencing these symptoms, you should visit your doctor. In most cases, electrolyte imbalances can be easily corrected. Your doctor can also advise you of any changes to your diet or lifestyle which will reduce your risk of experiencing the problem again.

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