What is Electrolyte Imbalance?
When it comes to hydration, one topic that is often neglected in conversation is electrolyte imbalances.
An electrolyte imbalance is an irregularity in electrolyte concentration within the body. Electrolytes are the minerals found in our blood, muscle tissue and elsewhere throughout the body. They help regulate pH levels, maintain oxygen delivery, encourage muscle contraction as well as keep you hydrated.
Electrolyte imbalances are mainly caused from dehydration, where electrolytes are lost during activities where we sweat, and failing to replenish what we lose with rehydration methods. However, electrolyte imbalances have also been used to aid the diagnosis of a variety of severe medical conditions. Whichever the case, when the concentration of electrolytes falls outside of the normal range, problems with our regular bodily functions and systems can occur.
What are the symptoms of electrolyte imbalance?
One of the most common symptoms of electrolyte imbalances is muscle cramping. As electrolytes help regulate oxygen delivery throughout the body, a lower electrolyte count causes a disruption to the regular oxygen delivery to the bloodstream, and thus to our muscles. This deficiency in oxygen can cause excruciating cramps to occur during and after exercise.
Electrolyte imbalances also impair our regular muscle contractions. With an abnormal electrolyte count to fuel our involuntary muscles such as our heart, contractions fluctuate, causing irregularities in such responses as our heartbeat.
Other symptoms include;
- Muscle spasms
- Irregular blood pressure
How to diagnose an electrolyte imbalance?
An electrolyte imbalance can occur as a result of insufficient or over-consumption of water. Any time we lose a large amount of water and fluids, for example prolonged exercise (sweating), vomiting and severe burns, we are at risk of certain electrolyte imbalances.
Generally, you can determine an electrolyte imbalance in observing the above symptoms. However, a simple blood test will confirm how deficient your body is of electrolytes and which electrolytes you need to replenish.
How to balance electrolytes?
In our day-to-day we get the majority of our electrolyte intake from the foods we eat and the drinks we consume. Treatments for electrolyte imbalances will often depend on the cause of the imbalance.
In most cases where dehydration is the cause, the best electrolyte imbalance treatment is to up your fluid intake. This can be achieved through intravenous methods or opting for daily consumption of concentrated electrolyte replenishing drinks such as The Daily. The Daily offers 15 naturally sourced electrolytes+ vitamins that will replenish and rebalance any electrolyte deficiencies in your body. Taking a concentrated dose of electrolytes in the form of a replenishing drink such as The Daily is also the best way to prevent future electrolyte deficiencies.
In some cases, where electrolyte imbalances are a result of an underlying medical condition, treatment for the condition will often resolve any abnormalities in electrolyte concentration.