Electrolytes Lab Values and Interpretation


Electrolytes are minerals in blood and other body fluids that carry an electric charge. Electrolytes affect how your body functions in many ways, including:
 >The amount of water in your body
 >The acidity of your blood (pH)
 >Your muscle function
 >Other important processes
You lose electrolytes when you sweat. You must replace them by drinking fluids that contain electrolytes. Water does not contain electrolytes.
Common electrolytes Laboratory Tests include:


1: Calcium

Calcium, the most abundant cation in the body, participates in almost all of the body’s vital processes. Calcium concentration is largely regulated by the parathyroid glands and by the action of vitamin D.

Calcium is a cation absorbed into the blood stream from dietary sources and functions in bone formation, nerve impulse transmission, and contraction of myocardial and skeletal muscles.
Calcium aids in blood clotting by converting prothromb into thrombin.

Normal Values of Calcium:
8.6 to 10 mg/dL

Nursing considerations

• Instruct the client to eat a diet with a normal calcium level (800 mg/day) for 3 days before the test.
• Instruct the client that fasting may be required for 8 hours before the test.


2: Serum chloride

Serum Chloride is a hydrochloric acid salt that is the most abundant body anion in the extracellular fluid It help in Functions to counterbalance cations, such as sodium, and acts as a buffer during oxygen and carbon dioxide exchange in red blood cells (RBCs). Serum chloride gives Aids in digestion and maintaining osmotic pressure and water balance.

Chloride is the most abundant anion in the extracellular fluid. Its most important function is in the maintenance of acid-base balance, in which it competes with bicarbonate for sodium. Chloride levels generally increase and decrease proportionally to sodium levels and inversely proportional to bicarbonate levels. Chloride also participates with sodium in the maintenance of water balance and aids in the regulation of osmotic pressure. Chloride contributes to gastric acid (hydrochloric acid) for digestion and activation.


3: Magnesium

Magnesium is used as an index to determine metabolic activity and renal function.
Magnesium is also needed in the blood-clotting mechanism, regulates neuromuscular activity, acts as a cofactor that modifies the activity of many enzymes, and has an effect on the metabolism of calcium.


Normal Values of Magnesium:
1.6 to 2.6 mg/dL

Nursing considerations
• Prolonged use of magnesium products causes increased serum levels.
• Long-term parenteral nutrition therapy or excessive loss of body fluids may decrease serum levels.


4: Phosphorus

Phosphorus, in the form of phosphate, is distributed throughout the body. Approximately 85% of the body’s phosphorus is stored in bones; the remainder is found in cells and body fluids. It is the major intracellular anion and plays a crucial role in cellular metabolism, maintenance of cellular membranes, and formation of bones and teeth.

Phosphorus also indirectly affects the release of oxygen from hemoglobin by affecting the formation of 2,3-bisphosphoglycerate. The reabsorption and excretion of phosphorus is largely regulated by the parathyroid glands and the kidneys.
Levels of phosphorus are also affected by dietary intake and are dependent on the presence of activated vitamin D for absorption by the intestines.


5: Serum potassium

Potassium is a major intracellular cation, potassium regulates cellular water balance, electrical conduction in muscle cells, and acid-base balance. The body obtains potassium through dietary Ingestion and the kidneys preserve or excrete potassium, depending on cellular need.


Potassium levels are used to evaluate cardiac function, renal function, gastrointestinal function, and the need for IV replacement therapy.


6: Serum sodium

Serum Sodium is a major cation of extracellular fluid. It maintains osmotic pressure and acid-base balance, and assists in the transmission of nerve impulses.

Serum Sodium is absorbed from the small intestine and excreted in the urine in amounts dependent on dietary intake. Minimum daily requirement of sodium is approximately 15 mEq.
Normal values of Serum Sodium:


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