Electrolyte Disorders

Electrolyte disorder is caused as a result of an imbalance in the levels of minerals in the body (Rose, 2001). Some of the minerals include magnesium, calcium, sodium, chloride and potassium. When such minerals are in high levels the condition has the prefix ‘hyper’ while when in low levels, they take up the prefix ‘hypo’ (Rose, 2001). Among the most common forms of electrolyte disorder is hypercalcemia. As the name suggests this is an abnormally high level of calcium in the body.

The signs and symptoms of hypercalcemia are usually mild and unnoticeable in most cases. However, there are cases of severe cases where symptoms relate to the part of the body affected by high calcium levels. For instance weak bones might be an indication of high levels of calcium in the blood leached from the bones. This will be coupled with increased thirst and frequent urination since the kidneys will be on over drive to try and eliminate the excess calcium (Mundy, 1990). If and when the brain is affected, then confusion, fatigue and lethargy will be the main symptoms.

More often than not, hypercalcemia is as a result of a condition known as hyperparathyroidism which in short means overactive thyroid glands (Lumachi et. al., 2010). However, the condition may be as a result of cancer or some medical conditions. The disorder may also be as a result of taking medication that increases the levels of calcium in the body. Though rarely, the condition may be as a result of a genetic disorder called familial hypocalciuric hypercalcemia

If untreated, the disorder affects some of the most vital organs in the body for example the kidneys, bones, muscles and most importantly the brain. It is therefore important for the condition to be treated cautiously on diagnosis to prevent such.

References

Lumachi, F., & Basso, S. M. M. (2010). Hypercalcemia pathophysiology & treatment: Bentham e Books.

Mundy, G. R. (1990) Calcium homoeostasis: Hypercalcemia and hypocalcemia. London: M. Dunitz.

Rose, B. D. (2001). Clinical physiology of acid-base and electrolyte disorders. New York [etc: McGraw Hill.