Electrolytes

Alternative names 
Serum chemistries

Definition

Electrolytes are minerals in your blood and other body fluids that carry an electric charge. It is important for the balance of electrolytes in your body to be maintained, because they affect the amount of water in your body, blood pH, muscle action, and other important processes. You lose electrolytes when you sweat, and these must be replenished by drinking lots of fluids.

Electrolytes exist in the blood as acids, bases, and salts (such as sodium, calcium, potassium, chlorine, magnesium, and bicarbonate) and can be measured by laboratory studies of the blood serum.

See also:

     
  • ionized calcium  
  • ions  
  • radioactive iodine uptake  
  • serum calcium  
  • serum chloride  
  • serum magnesium  
  • serum phosphorus  
  • serum sodium  
  • sweat electrolytes

 

Johns Hopkins patient information

Last revised: December 3, 2012
by Martin A. Harms, M.D.

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