What is electrolyte imbalance?

Also known as: electrolyte disorders.

Body fluids are composed of water and the substances dissolved in it (solutes).

These solutes possess an electrical charge and are called electrolytes. The can be positively charged (also known as cations like sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium) or negatively charged (or anions like chloride, bicarbonate and phosphate).

Electrolytes are maintained in the body within a narrow range and are essential to the metabolic activities of all cells. When these electrolytes are out of balance (either too high or too low) they cause problems in many organ or systems.

Reviewed by: Jack Wolfsdorf, MD, FAAP

This page was last updated on: 1/29/2019 3:21:13 PM

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