The mainstream media panic regarding the almost unstoppable spread of the Ebola virus and the advent of a strand of malaria which resists conventional treatments may have you worried. But before losing your marbles wondering if the world is coming to an end, perhaps it's prudent to worry about problems closer to home. While a brand new form of malaria or even Ebola is a distant prospect, electrolyte imbalance isn't. This condition is becoming more common than ever and do not let its rather innocuous name fool you.
Electrolytes, although the smallest of cells, are very important for the proper functioning of our body. Electrolytes such as sodium or potassium are vital in regards to many aspects. For instance, they help to generate energy, contract muscles and even help to move water and other fluids in the body. Thus, the significance of electrolytes cannot be stressed enough. However, imbalances may happen and when they do there are usually tell-tale signs beforehand. Failure to notice can result in dire, even fatal, consequences.
The most serious type of electrolytes imbalance occurs when our body is either deprived or when we have too much of sodium, potassium and/or calcium. Anytime you have vomited too much or suffered from diarrhoea or even ingested too much, you need to know that these are ways that electrolyte imbalance can develop. People with bulimia or anorexia nervosa are also at risk of developing this condition. Whatever may be the reason, if you feel you are at risk, check for the symptoms.
The general symptoms of electrolyte imbalance are dizziness, fatigue, nausea without vomiting and/or trembling for no reason. These symptoms may be noticed in conjunction with other symptoms such as dry skin, dry mouth, bad breath, lack of perspiration, stiff joints and constipation among others. At times, an electrolyte imbalance can even mimic the signs of a stroke. Furthermore, there is some evidence that electrolyte imbalance can lead to urinary tract infection. But these are of course the most general of the signs. Sometimes the signs are unique, based on the kind of electrolyte imbalance that one is facing.
For instance, increased levels of sodium results in hypernatremia. This condition may precede kidney failure and is a direct result of consuming too little water. Hyponatremia, on the other hand, happens when there is more body water in relative to sodium. This is common with those with congestive heart failure or even in burn victims. Some medications are also known to result in electrolyte imbalance and thus it is advised that one consults with their physicians before taking any medicines, even the over-the-counter ones.
Given the seriousness of this situation, if you ever feel that you have an electrolyte imbalance of any sort, consult your doctor and also think what might have caused it. More often than not the reason can easily be found. Remember, prevention is better than cure and this is more apt for electrolyte imbalance.