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Serum Electrolyte Services

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Serum Electrolyte

Serum is the part of blood that doesn’t contain cells. Sodium, potassium, and chloride levels are usually measured as part of a basic metabolic panel. Electrolyte panel is very useful in assessing acid base balance in a number of medical conditions. Electrolytes affect a person’s body functions in many ways, including the acidity or alkalinity of the blood, the amount of water in the body and various muscle functions. Potassium is found inside the body’s cells. Small amounts of it are also found in the blood plasma. It plays an important role in regulating the heart’s rhythm and its ability to contract. Sodium is mainly found outside the body cells. It helps in regulating the amount of water in the body.

You lose electrolytes when you sweat. You must replace them by drinking fluids that contain electrolytes. Water does not contain electrolytes.

Common electrolytes include:

  • Calcium
  • Chloride
  • Magnesium
  • Phosphorus
  • Potassium
  • Sodium

Diagnosing electrolyte disorders

A simple blood test can measure the levels of electrolytes in your body. A blood test that looks at your kidney function is important as well. Your doctor may want to perform a physical exam or order extra tests to confirm a suspected electrolyte disorder. These additional tests will vary depending on the condition in question.

For example, hypernatremia can cause loss of elasticity in the skin due to significant dehydration. Your doctor can perform a pinch test to determine whether dehydration is affecting you. They may also test your reflexes, as both increased and depleted levels of some electrolytes can affect reflexes. An electrocardiogram (EKG), an electrical tracing of your heart, may also be useful to check for any irregular heartbeats, rhythms, or EKG changes brought on by electrolyte problems.

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