Can You Compare And Contrast How Different Electrolytes, Sodium, Potassium, And Chloride Function In The Body?


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James Kent Profile
James Kent answered
Electrolyte is the scientific and medical term for salts or ions in the human body. The term electrolyte means that the ion is electrically charged. Sodium (Na+), potassium (K+) and chloride (Cl-) are three of the body’s major electrolytes and each have different functions which help maintain the smooth running of the body.

Sodium is the major positive ion in the fluid outside cells. When combined with chloride, the resulting substance is table salt and any excess sodium is excreted in the urine. Sodium regulates the total amount of water in the body and the transmission of sodium into and out of individual cells also plays a role in critical body functions. Many processes in the body, especially in the brain, nervous system, and muscles, require electrical signals for communication. The movement of sodium is critical in generation of these electrical signals. Too much or too little sodium therefore can cause cells to malfunction, and extremes in the blood sodium levels (too much or too little) can be fatal.

Potassium is the major positive ion found inside cells in the human body.  A level of 3.5 - 5.0 milliEquivalents/liter (mEq/L) is required for normal cell function. Potassium has many functions; regulation of the heartbeat and function of muscles are the two main ones.  An abnormal increase in potassium (hyperkalemia) or decrease in potassium (hypokalemia) can profoundly affect the nervous system and increases the chance of irregular heartbeats (arrhythmias). This can, in the worst cases, be fatal.

Chloride is the major negative ion found in the fluid outside the cells as well as in the blood. This anion (negative ion) is the negatively charged part of substances such as table salt. Chloride plays an important role in helping the body maintain a normal balance of fluids and even small changes can result in illnesses such as diarrhoea. More significant increases or decreases in chloride can, again, prove fatal.
Aisha Profile
Aisha answered
Electrolytes are the chemicals in the body which are required for regulating nerve and muscle function and other physiological functions. Sodium, Potassium, And Chloride are important electrolytes in the body. Sodium regulates the amount of water in the body. The movement of sodium results in the electric signals required for communication between different cells. Potassium is important for regulation of heartbeat and muscle functions. Sodium and potassium are positive ions whereas Chloride is negative ion which is used for maintaining the fluid balance in the body.

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