<< Chapter < Page Chapter >> Page >
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

Card 5 / 12: For whom would an appreciation of the structural characteristics of the human heart come more easily: an alien who lands on Earth, abducts a human, and dissects his heart, or an anatomy and physiology student performing a dissection of the heart on her very first day of class? Why?
Gelowe Reply
what are regular shaped cells with granules in the cytoplasam
Kabita Reply
I need sylubuss of clinical officers book
Omary Reply
cholesterol normal value is
less than 200mg/dl
100 to159mg/dL
Early this wk. I had some "A & P" questions & answers unfortunately didn't save them, Is there any way I can have them back ,so as 2 save them?. Thnx.
what are the functions of the female reproductive system
Lister Reply
it produces the female egg necessary for reproduction, called the Ova or Oocytes. The system is designed to transport the Ova to the site of fertilization.
Female reproductive system was mainly functioned to produce ova(ovum) (female eggs) Into which will be fertilized by male gamete to produce zygote
absolutely right
wa qalad nimco rage iska hubi
waxwalba ka fikirbay ubaahantahay
ha wayo jawabtoda wa qabyo nimco wey ku raacdat
ha wayo jawabtoda wa qabyo nimco wey ku raacday
wxayaabaha qaarkood waaa in aan u feejignaano
asc if I try female reproductive system has two function the first is to produce egg cell and the second is to protact and nourish the offspring until birth
what is stercobilinogen
Hancerich Reply
fecal urobilinogen. Created by bacteria in the gut. a chemical that gives feces brown color.
next question pls.
The rate of diffusion increases if the
What's the answer?
it's a breaking down of haemoglobin and it's a chemical made by bacteria
Thnx Dev Raj.
yup so any more
yes I sure do need more "Questions" & "Answers". I'm learning whole lot. Thnx.
what is the greatest muscle of the body
Lungu Reply
gluteus maximus
pls!!! more "A&P" questions & answers. Thnx.
Gluteus maximus
Describe anatomy of cardiovascular system?
cardiovascular system is a group of organs coming together to perform the circulation of blood. The organs invoked are the heart and the blood vessels with blood being the tissue. The heart is a pump and it pumps oxygenated blood through the systemic circuit and deoxygenated blood through the pulmon
pulmonary circuit.
more A&P questions pls. Thnx.
If an ANOVA yields a significant F value, you could rely on ________ to test significant differences between group means.
Dane Reply
what's ANOVA
analysis of variance
plz what you mean with "ANOVA" first
anova means analysis of variance, a statistical method in which the variation in a set of observations is divided into distinct components.
M value ot test
What does it mean by M value ot test?
formation of red blood cells
Biketi Reply
explain why... lower back pain in ovarian cancer
Srijoni Reply
we says that protoplasm is the living part of us How?
Muzamil Reply
is the leaving part of our cellular structure.
it is the leaving part of our blood cellular structure also
what is receptor?
Preity Reply
an organ or cell able to respond to light, heat, or other external stimulus and transmit a signal to a sensory nerve.
Has anyone taken the first exam?
hey what is the process after your food is swallowed? how long does it take to get to the stomache until it is released as waste?
Fednise Reply
that is such a broad question. as you begin to swallow its various doses down the alimentary canal that brings the food into your stomach.then depending on whether it's a protein carbohydrate fat that dictates what function takes place in your stomach. these are all steps of digestion.
typo sorry it's peristalsis , wave-like projections that push food down your alimentary canal etc. digestion starts in your mouth ends in your large intestines (colon anus)
some of the many processes of digestion include hydrolysis dehydration synthesis denaturation of proteins etc. you have to be more specific.
there's many different contributing factors the how long it takes food to convert into waste. remember fats, triglycerides proteins and carbohydrates all breakdown two different monomers and structures. you should be looking up metabolic processes.
depending how much fiber you have in your diet dictates how much water is brought to your intestines that has to do with excretion whether fiber is insoluble or soluble. this is an anatomy and physiology app. to simply say the stomach will empty its contents in 2 to 3 hours would do you a disservice
can the study of anatomy relate to medical technologies
Lean Reply
how can I understand micro biology and anatomy better.
someone to help me understand glycogeneogenesis
what are the major branches of the aorta?
look youtube video

Get the best Anatomy & Physiology course in your pocket!

Source:  OpenStax, Anatomy & Physiology. OpenStax CNX. Feb 04, 2016 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11496/1.8
Google Play and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google Inc.

Notification Switch

Would you like to follow the 'Anatomy & Physiology' conversation and receive update notifications?