Electrolytes are found in all living organisms that we know of and play many vital roles in the human body. They are positively or negatively charged ions and play an important role in osmosis, the passing of liquids and nutrients in and out of cells. Furthermore, without electrolytes there would be no muscle action, including an electric signal to regulate heart rhythm nor brain function as nerves would be unable to communicate with one another. They also help to balance blood PH levels. The four most important electrolytes in the human body are carbon dioxide, chloride, potassium and sodium.
What Does An Electrolyte Panel Do?
Due to their importance to all humans, it is a good idea to have their levels tested. There are two reasons for this. The electrolyte panel test takes a blood sample, which could signal, if there is an imbalance, a potentially serious cause such as kidney failure. The highliging of an electrolyte imbalance also warns physicians that this imbalance itself, if long term, could have fatal consequences. There are a number of symptoms such as weakness, confusion, swellings and lethargy. If left untreated, an affected person could fall into a coma.
How Do You Order an Electrolyte Panel?
KwikMed are licensed to organize electrolyte panel tests in most states. Please check your state is participating before you try and order. The process is simple, but still requires a physician’s approval. This is done by progressing to a consultation page once you have accessed your account. After assessing your health, the physician will approve or reject the request. Approvals lead to the payment page and once done, KwikMed will issue patients with a requisition form via email within 24 hours.
How is the Test Performed?
The test is performed by having the requisition form taken to a local lab. This laboratory will perform the test themselves by taking a blood sample. This is then analyzed in order to determine the balance ranges of each electrolyte. These balances can be affected by hydration, so someone who has drunk too much or is retaining water will have an artificially low balance while someone who is losing too much water and is dehydrated will have a higher balance. The lab will send the results to KwikMed, who will post them on the patient’s private profile within a week of the sample being taken.
Carbon dioxide is formed by two oxygen atoms bonding with a carbon atom. On average, a human produces 2.3 pounds of of CO2 a day. It is carried through the blood to the lungs, where it is often expelled. The natural range of carbon dioxide should be between 20 and 29 mEq/L.
Chlorides are formed when the element chlorine receives an additional electron called an anion, which is negatively charged. The human body uses chlorides for metabolism and its value is controlled by the kidneys. The normal range should be from 96 to 106 mEq/L.
Potassium is an alkali metal and is very common in the body and makes up 0.2% of its mass. The atom is vital for brainand nerve function and plays a part in the polarization of cell membranes, which allows nutrients to enter and waste to leave. The normal range of potassium should be 3.7 to 5.2 mEq/L.
Sodium is very similar to potassium and is not found naturally on its own, but in compounds with other atoms. It is found in a wide range of minerals such as feldspars and rock salt. Furthermore, for humans, it plays a large part in regulating blood volume and pressure as well as regulating osmosis. A range of 135 to 145 mEq/L is normal for sodium.