Electrolyte Imbalance: Why These Minerals Are Key for Hydration
Most people know how vital water is for hydration. We’ve all heard how much of our bodies are made of water, and it’s clear that the human body needs water to survive. However, many people don’t understand the role of electrolytes in hydration. In fact, electrolyte imbalances can lead to dehydration just as quickly as water loss.
Here, you’ll learn what an electrolyte imbalance is. You’ll find out more about why electrolytes like sodium and potassium are necessary for hydration. Plus, you’ll learn the warning signs of an electrolyte imbalance.
What Is an Electrolyte Imbalance?
Before we discuss electrolyte imbalances, let’s take a look at electrolytes and the roles they play in the body.
Electrolytes are charged minerals that play a key role in body functions. When dissolved in water, electrolytes produce a positive or negative electrical charge. That means they conduct electricity and are able to send messages throughout your body. These electrolytes enable muscle movement and help send signals between neurotransmitters in your brain. They control water retention and also play a role in nerve function.
Examples of electrolytes include:
Sodium electrolytes are vital for controlling water levels in your body and for blood pressure regulation. Potassium is essential for controlling nerve impulses and muscle contractions, while magnesium maintains heart rate and blood sugar levels. Calcium plays a critical role in blood clotting and bone health. Chloride manages pH levels, while phosphate aids bone health and bicarbonates support heart health. Your body needs a precise balance of all these electrolytes to function.
Electrolytes are found in body fluid both inside (intracellular fluid) and outside of cells (extracellular fluid). Intracellular fluid (ICF) makes up about 60% of the total fluid content in your body, while extracellular (ECF) fluid makes up the remaining one-third.
An electrolyte imbalance occurs when your body doesn’t have the right amounts of electrolytes. Severe electrolyte imbalances can lead to seizures and cardiac arrest. Mild to moderate cases can still disrupt your daily activities, making it harder to perform at your job.
Electrolyte Imbalance and Dehydration
Electrolyte imbalances can affect your fluid levels, leading to dehydration. Dehydration is a condition where fluid loss exceeds fluid intake. It can also be caused by electrolyte imbalances.
Electrolyte imbalance dehydration includes:
Hyperkalemia: too much potassium
Hypokalemia: low potassium levels
Hypernatremia: too much sodium
Hyponatremia: low sodium levels
Hypercalcemia: too much calcium
Hypocalcemia: low calcium levels
Hypermagnesemia: too much magnesium
Hypomagnesemia: low magnesium levels
Most people think the key to dehydration relief is simply to drink more water. However, dehydration is more than just a loss of water — it’s also about not having the right balance of electrolytes. To defeat dehydration, you need to address both fluids and electrolytes. Here’s how you can do that.
In the 1960’s medical scientists discovered that by combining the right amount of sodium electrolytes with just a little glucose, a mechanism called the sodium-glucose cotransport system was activated. The amounts are about three times as much sodium and half as much sugar as you’d find in a sports drink. This system opens the intestinal wall and effectively pulls fluids and electrolytes into the bloodstream. This solution, called an ORS, was used to relieve dehydration and saved millions of lives globally.
Causes of Electrolyte Imbalances
Electrolyte levels naturally fluctuate throughout the day. However, changes to electrolyte levels can cause an imbalance that leads to dehydration.
Here are some of the main causes of electrolyte imbalances:
Excessive sweating due to strenuous physical activity or hot weather
Vomiting, diarrhea, and a high fever
Diuretics like medications for high blood pressure and laxatives
Medical conditions and electrolyte disorders that affect the liver
Metabolic alkalosis (a condition where your blood has a high pH)
Heart disease, heart failure, adrenal and chronic kidney disease, and thyroid and parathyroid gland disorders
Hormone disorders like diabetes insipidus and syndrome of inappropriate secretion of antidiuretic hormone (SIADH)
Severe burns or tissue damage to the skin
Now that you know the main causes of electrolyte imbalances, you can make a conscious effort to avoid the condition. Make sure to replenish lost fluids and electrolytes, especially after strenuous exercise and when you're sick. Focus on maintaining proper hydration levels throughout the day by using an electrolyte solution like DripDrop.
DripDrop provides a precise balance of medically relevant electrolytes to address electrolyte imbalances and dehydration. Plus, DripDrop supplies vitamins like zinc, potassium, and magnesium, which are essential to support your overall health. By comparison, sports drinks contain about one-third the electrolytes of DripDrop and twice as much sugar.
Signs of Electrolyte Imbalance
To manage an electrolyte imbalance, you need to recognize the signs. Here are some of the warning signs you should watch for.
Common signs of electrolyte imbalances include:
Abnormal heart rhythm and irregular heartbeat
Poor muscle function or muscle cramps
Constipation and decreased urination
Fatigue and lethargy
Numbness and tingling
If you think you’re suffering from an electrolyte imbalance, it’s important to act fast. Left untreated, electrolyte imbalances can be life-threatening. And they may land you in the emergency department.
Stay Hydrated and Restore Electrolyte Levels
Many people don’t know they have an electrolyte imbalance. The signs can often mimic other health conditions, making diagnoses difficult. A qualified healthcare professional can conduct a blood test to assess your electrolyte balance. They’ll also be able to find other issues or abnormalities that may contribute to the problem. Treatment will depend on what electrolytes you are lacking or which ones you may have too much of.
A doctor may recommend adjusting medications or addressing a medical condition to prevent future electrolyte imbalances. They may also offer medical advice and medications, especially for the treatment of kidney problems and other issues.
Staying hydrated can help you avoid electrolyte disturbances and resulting dehydration. By drinking enough water and electrolytes throughout the day (especially when you're thirsty), you’ll be able to manage your fluid balance and avoid low levels of certain electrolytes. Thirst is one of the first ways our bodies tell us if we have low levels of electrolytes or fluids.
Remember, you can’t just drink plain old water. And sports drinks aren’t the most effective choice either due to their high sugar content. Instead, drink an oral rehydration solution like DripDrop. It contains a precise ratio of electrolytes that help defeat dehydration and replenish electrolytes fast.
DripDrop was developed by a doctor on a mission to defeat life-threatening dehydration. The patented formula provides medically relevant electrolyte levels, exceeding the World Health Organization’s Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS) standards. It gives you a medically viable ORS that also tastes great.
Defeat Dehydration and Electrolyte Imbalances With DripDrop
Ensure your body has the right balance of electrolytes and fluids, and fend off dehydration with an oral rehydration solution like DripDrop.
When you're in a state of dehydration, water alone is not enough. Your body needs the perfect balance of sodium and glucose to help absorption. With the precisely balanced ratio in DripDrop's patented formula, you can replenish vital electrolytes and fluids to relieve dehydration quickly.
Medical-grade DripDrop allows you to alleviate mild to moderate dehydration outside of a hospital setting, without the need for costly and painful IV therapy. Our patented formula is powerful enough to help patients suffering from dehydration caused by Ebola and cholera, but it’s safe enough for everyday use. Plus, DripDrop tastes amazing and comes in a variety of flavors you can enjoy.
For cases of mild to moderate dehydration, DripDrop is a fast, effective, and great-tasting remedy. The convenient packaging allows you to have DripDrop when you need it, where you need it.