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    Electrolytes

    Electrolytes are minerals in your blood and other body fluids that carry an electric charge.

    Electrolytes affect the amount of water in your body, the acidity of your blood (pH), your muscle function, and other important processes. You lose electrolytes when you sweat. You must replace them by drinking fluids.

    Common electrolytes include:

    • Calcium
    • Chloride
    • Magnesium
    • Phosphorous
    • Potassium
    • Sodium

    Electrolytes can be acids, bases, and salts.

    They can be measured by laboratory studies of the blood in different ways. Each electrolyte can be ordered as a separate test, such as:

    • Ionized calcium
    • Serum calcium
    • Serum chloride
    • Serum magnesium
    • Serum phosphorus
    • Serum potassium
    • Serum sodium

    Note: Serum is the part of blood that doesn't contain cells.

    Sodium, potassium, and chloride can also be ordered as part of an electrolyte panel or a basic metabolic panel.

    The electrolytes - urine test measures electrolytes in urine. It usually measures the levels of calcium, chloride, potassium, or sodium.

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          A Closer Look

          Tests for Electrolytes

          Review Date: 9/20/2011

          Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

          The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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          St. Luke's Hospital - 232 South Woods Mill Road - Chesterfield, MO 63017 Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
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