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What to Know About Fluid & Electrolyte Disorders

If you are dealing with an electrolyte imbalance, here’s what you should understand about your condition. 

We don’t often think about our kidneys, but they play an important role in removing toxins and excess fluid from our bodies. So, when something is wrong with our kidneys, our nephrologists may notice issues with fluid retention, dehydration, or imbalances of certain electrolytes such as sodium or potassium. These are key signs that your doctor at Kidney Consultants of El Paso should look into kidney function. Visit them at either of their two offices in El Paso TX.


What are the symptoms of fluid and electrolyte disorders? 

Our body contains a balance of crucial minerals and electrolytes such as potassium, calcium, sodium, and magnesium. When our bodies are low in or have an excess of any of these minerals or electrolytes this can impact everything from the muscles to the heart. People may often discover they have a kidney disorder when they come in complaining of other symptoms such as heart rhythm changes or weakness in the muscles.

Those with electrolyte disorders may often experience a wide range of symptoms, including:

  • A rapid or irregular heartbeat
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Bowel changes (diarrhea or constipation)
  • Stomach cramps
  • Muscles cramps and/or weakness
  • Headaches
  • “Pins and needles” in the extremities
  • Irritability

If there is a fluid imbalance you may also experience swelling of the face, arms, legs or feet (if there is too much fluid in the body) or dehydration, which can lead to excessive thirst, weakness, fainting and dark urine (when there isn’t enough fluid in the body).


What causes fluid and electrolyte disorders? 

Electrolyte disorders are often the result of a loss of fluids within the body. This may be experienced after a bad stomach bug, chronic diarrhea, or after intense sweating (e.g. participating in a marathon or ultramarathon).

You may be prone to an electrolyte disorder if you take certain medications or if you have kidney disease. If you do have kidney disease, it’s important to speak with your El Paso TX nephrologist to find out how to prevent an electrolyte imbalance.

Other issues that may increase your risk for an electrolyte disorder include:

  • Eating disorders
  • Severe trauma (e.g. burns)
  • Thyroid or adrenal gland disorders
  • Alcohol use disorders
  • Congestive heart failure


How is a fluid and electrolyte disorder treated? 

The cause and severity of your symptoms will determine the best treatment options for you. The goal of treatment is to restore the body by making sure it has the correct balance of fluids, minerals, and electrolytes. This may be done through IV fluids or oral medication (depending on the severity of your symptoms).


If you are experiencing symptoms of an electrolyte disorder, you must get immediate medical attention from a qualified doctor. Call Kidney Consultants of El Paso at (915) 544-7767 to schedule an appointment for either El Paso TX location.

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