Electrolytes are minerals in your blood and other body fluids that carry an electric charge.
Electrolytes affect how your body functions in many ways, including:
- The amount of water in your body
- The acidity of your blood (pH)
- Your muscle function
- Other important processes
You lose electrolytes when you sweat. You must replace them by drinking fluids that contain electrolytes. Water does not contain electrolytes.
Common electrolytes include:
Electrolytes can be acids, bases, or salts. They can be measured by different blood tests. Each electrolyte can be measured separately, such as:
- Ionized calcium
Ionized calcium is calcium in your blood that is not attached to proteins. It is also called free calcium. All cells need calcium in order to work. ...Read Article Now Book Mark Article
- Serum calcium
The calcium blood test measures the level of calcium in the blood. This article discusses the test to measure the total amount of calcium in your blo...Read Article Now Book Mark Article
- Serum chloride
Chloride is a type of electrolyte. It works with other electrolytes such as potassium, sodium, and carbon dioxide (CO2). These substances help keep...Read Article Now Book Mark Article
- Serum magnesium
A serum magnesium test measures the level of magnesium in the blood.Read Article Now Book Mark Article
- Serum phosphorus
The phosphorus blood test measures the amount of phosphate in the blood.Read Article Now Book Mark Article
- Serum potassium
- Serum sodium
The sodium blood test measures the concentration of sodium in the blood. Sodium can also be measured using a urine test.Read Article Now Book Mark Article
Note: Serum is the part of blood that doesn't contain cells.
Sodium, potassium, chloride, and calcium levels can also be measured as part of a basic metabolic panel. A more complete test, called comprehensive metabolic panel, can test for these and several more chemicals.
Basic metabolic panel
The basic metabolic panel is a group of blood tests that provides information about your body's metabolism.Read Article Now Book Mark Article
The electrolytes - urine test measures electrolytes in urine. It tests the levels of calcium, chloride, potassium, sodium, and other electrolytes.
Electrolytes - urine test
The electrolytes - urine test measures specific chemicals called electrolytes in urine. It most often measures the levels of calcium, chloride, pota...Read Article Now Book Mark Article
Hamm LL, DuBose TD. Disorders of acid-base balance. In: Yu ASL, Chertow GM, Luyckx VA, Marsden PA, Skorecki K, Taal MW, eds. Brenner and Rector's The Kidney. 11th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 16.
Oh MS, Briefel G, Pincus MR. Evaluation of renal function, water, electrolytes, and acid-base balance. In: McPherson RA, Pincus MR, eds. Henry's Clinical Diagnosis and Management by Laboratory Methods. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2022:chap 15.
Review Date: 11/6/2021
Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.