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By the end of this section, you will be able to:
  • List the role of the six most important electrolytes in the body
  • Name the disorders associated with abnormally high and low levels of the six electrolytes
  • Identify the predominant extracellular anion
  • Describe the role of aldosterone on the level of water in the body

The body contains a large variety of ions, or electrolytes, which perform a variety of functions. Some ions assist in the transmission of electrical impulses along cell membranes in neurons and muscles. Other ions help to stabilize protein structures in enzymes. Still others aid in releasing hormones from endocrine glands. All of the ions in plasma contribute to the osmotic balance that controls the movement of water between cells and their environment.

Electrolytes in living systems include sodium, potassium, chloride, bicarbonate, calcium, phosphate, magnesium, copper, zinc, iron, manganese, molybdenum, copper, and chromium. In terms of body functioning, six electrolytes are most important: sodium, potassium, chloride, bicarbonate, calcium, and phosphate.

Roles of electrolytes

These six ions aid in nerve excitability, endocrine secretion, membrane permeability, buffering body fluids, and controlling the movement of fluids between compartments. These ions enter the body through the digestive tract. More than 90 percent of the calcium and phosphate that enters the body is incorporated into bones and teeth, with bone serving as a mineral reserve for these ions. In the event that calcium and phosphate are needed for other functions, bone tissue can be broken down to supply the blood and other tissues with these minerals. Phosphate is a normal constituent of nucleic acids; hence, blood levels of phosphate will increase whenever nucleic acids are broken down.

Excretion of ions occurs mainly through the kidneys, with lesser amounts lost in sweat and in feces. Excessive sweating may cause a significant loss, especially of sodium and chloride. Severe vomiting or diarrhea will cause a loss of chloride and bicarbonate ions. Adjustments in respiratory and renal functions allow the body to regulate the levels of these ions in the ECF.

[link] lists the reference values for blood plasma, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), and urine for the six ions addressed in this section. In a clinical setting, sodium, potassium, and chloride are typically analyzed in a routine urine sample. In contrast, calcium and phosphate analysis requires a collection of urine across a 24-hour period, because the output of these ions can vary considerably over the course of a day. Urine values reflect the rates of excretion of these ions. Bicarbonate is the one ion that is not normally excreted in urine; instead, it is conserved by the kidneys for use in the body’s buffering systems.

Electrolyte and Ion Reference Values
Name Chemical symbol Plasma CSF Urine
Sodium Na + 136.00–146.00 (mM) 138.00–150.00 (mM) 40.00–220.00 (mM)
Potassium K + 3.50–5.00 (mM) 0.35–3.5 (mM) 25.00–125.00 (mM)
Chloride Cl - 98.00–107.00 (mM) 118.00–132.00 (mM) 110.00–250.00 (mM)
Bicarbonate HCO 3 - 22.00–29.00 (mM) ------ ------
Calcium Ca ++ 2.15–2.55 (mmol/day) ------ Up to 7.49 (mmol/day)
Phosphate HPO 4 2 0.81–1.45 (mmol/day) ------ 12.90–42.00 (mmol/day)

Questions & Answers

career in the health professions, respond appropriately to signs of illness, help you in your roles as a parent, spouse
Coach Reply
student would have an appreciation of the heart anatomy to give understanding of anatomy while opening ideas of function and physiology
Coach
study of the parts of the body
Coach
macro anatomy, study of big structures of the body that can be viewed with the naked eye
Coach
what is integumentry
Amiebo Reply
chemical level cell level tissue level organs level organ system organism
sam Reply
when you sitting close to a campfire your sense smell adapts the smell but when the trace of smoke is introduced into your environments it becomes unsual for you
sam
I need to know mechanism of body fluid
johnson
OK but I need to know where are you coming from
johnson
ask how
Amiebo
oh ft, help out with integumentary system now
Amiebo
Pls give me a brief description of vetebra
Deborah Reply
7 cervical (c1 atlas and c2 axis help the neck rotate) 12 thoracic 5 lumbar 1 sacral and 2 coccyx
Anna
breakfast at 7, lunch at 12, and dinner at 5. sacrum holds 5, coccyx holds 4
Patrick
really there's just one coccyx and sacrum
Patrick
atlas like the Greek God holds the weight of the world on top of him
Patrick
elasticity of the vagina
Mariam Reply
The vagina is an elastic muscular wall
antouman
*organ
antouman
It has I think squamous cuboidal or maybe columnar epithelium designed for secretion, expansion and friction.
Patrick
how can you remember the integumentary system
Naomi Reply
integumentary system is the skin the skin is protection all the body and contain deid cells
Drs
how can you remember the formation of bone?
Maame
the largest organ of the body
Toni
skin is largest organ
Zara
what is the best way to remember the cranial bones or any other bones ?
Savannah
skeletal system?
Savannah
look at the diagram structure and then remember it considering it your own body i memorise like that
Zara
hi guys! do you have to remember ALL the structures of the bones- I mean every single hole, depression or tuberosity?
Kristina
tuborisity
Zara
hey guz i hv to remember Immune antibodies and antigens how? i found it difficult
Zara
well, they are all grouped, aren't they? I mean they all come in series like H1, H2A, H2B and so on. In this case I learn the common part first and then that what's different
Kristina
nd what about IgG , IgE etc.
Zara
the majors
Toni
the thin skin does not have stratum lucidium I believe
Patrick
acronyms
Patrick
if u know the bones, the muscle has part of the name of the bone in it
Patrick
epidermis, I believe epi means on top. dermis in the middle and hypodermis, hypo meaning below. the hypodermis is actually considered not part of the skin or int system
Patrick
big sweet guys love candy = basale, spinosum, granulosum, lucidum ( only in thick skin), corneum
Anna
I love it ☝🏾
Savannah
thank you Zara !
Savannah
can anyone send diet plan for asthma patients
waseem
is
Drs
hey
Daud
jam how are you
Daud
Hey guys l am Matrin
Matrin
blood is a connective tissue which transport oxygen and other nutrients to body
Zara Reply
which type of protein is blood?
Zara
what is blood?
Masthan Reply
blood is a connective tissue which transport oxygen and nutrients to body
Zara
which type of protein is blood?
Zara
haemoglobin
Rashid
and what about its structure i think its Quartenary structure 🤔💭
Zara
yes it is
Rashid
it is globular
Rashid
a vascular structure compose of vessels.
Toni
what is the functions of lymph
moula Reply
what is plasma
Chukwu Reply
A plasma is a hot ionized gas consisting of approximately af a equal number of positive ly charged ionized and negative ly charged electron is called plasma.
Muhammad
what is an atomical position?
Madinatu
military position, body erect where by the body will be up straight..the cephalic and thoracic are straight
Mwita
functions of plasma membrane
Dinyando Reply
what is heparin
Lawrence Reply
why is it anatomy
Tenacious Reply
hello
ASIMENU
hi
asare
hws life
Tenacious
anatomy is the scientific study of the body's structure
Lawrence
great
Lawrence
good night
Kaaya
anatomy is the study of form, physiology is the study of function
Patrick
anatomy is the study of the structure of the body and the physical relationship between it constituent part
Florence
what is heparin
Lawrence
what is the trunk
Tenacious
trunk is define as a person's or animal's body apart from the limp and head
Lawrence
The trunk is part of the axial skeleton
Patrick
hellow friends
mickson
hi friends
mickson
Hi
REEMA
hii
sampath
hi
Inayat
am fine
Ematai
supine or dorsal position is used in clinical setting when patient is placed in position, to examine what?
Dinyando Reply
what do nurses/doctors detect when a patient is placed on dorsal position?
Dinyando
What is coroid process?
kelvin Reply
describe special situation with implications in medical ethics.
kelvin

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Source:  OpenStax, Anatomy & Physiology. OpenStax CNX. Feb 04, 2016 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11496/1.8
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