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Serum Electrolytes

At Urgent Care Brisbane, staffed with emergency doctors and nurses, we understand the importance of serum electrolyte testing. We offer comprehensive testing services to ensure your electrolyte levels are balanced. Our tests are part of a group called the CHEM 20, which includes a comprehensive test of all electrolytes. We also perform these tests in response to possible heart problems or diabetes.

Serum Electrolytes Testing at Urgent Care Brisbane

  • Serum electrolytes are minerals with an electric charge, playing a pivotal role in the regulation of numerous body systems, including heart rhythms, nerves, and muscles.
  • They are instrumental in maintaining the body’s fluid volume and acid-base balance.
  • The kidneys are responsible for controlling electrolyte concentrations in the blood.
  • Kidney dysfunction is often the primary cause of electrolyte imbalance.
  • Electrolyte tests, such as those for sodium and potassium, are used in conjunction with other tests to evaluate the functionality of your kidneys, liver, and certain steroids and hormones.

The CHEM-20 is one of the most comprehensive blood tests available. It includes tests for electrolytes and other essential compounds. Here are the components of a CHEM-20 and their importance:

  • Sodium, Potassium, Chloride, Carbon Dioxide (Bicarbonate): These are electrolytes, and their balance is vital for the body’s fluid levels, muscle function, and other processes.
  • Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN) and Creatinine: These tests measure kidney function, which is crucial for removing waste from the body.
  • Glucose: This test measures blood sugar levels, which is important for diagnosing or monitoring diabetes.
  • Calcium: Vital for bone health, blood clotting, and heart function.
  • Albumin and Total Protein: These measure the amount and type of protein in your blood, which is essential for healing and fighting off infections.
  • Alkaline Phosphatase (ALP), Alanine Amino Transferase (ALT), Aspartate Amino Transferase (AST), and Bilirubin: These tests assess liver function, which is crucial for metabolizing medications, removing toxins, and other processes.
  • Total Cholesterol and Triglycerides: These measure the amount of fats in your blood, which can help assess the risk of heart disease.
  • Globulin and Albumin/Globulin Ratio (A/G Ratio): These tests measure the proteins made by the liver and immune system.
  • Lactate Dehydrogenase (LDH): This enzyme is found throughout the body and is often used to evaluate the presence of tissue or cell damage.
  • Phosphorus: This mineral is important for bone health.
  • Uric Acid: This test measures the amount of uric acid in the blood, which can help diagnose gout or kidney stones.

Each of these tests provides valuable information about the overall health and function of your body’s major systems. They can help diagnose diseases, monitor the effectiveness of treatments, and guide future medical care.

Importance of Serum Electrolytes Testing

  • Cells utilize electrolytes to transmit electrical impulses within themselves and to other cells. This process is fundamental for the functioning of nerves, heart, and muscles.
  • These electrical impulses and muscle contractions are vital for maintaining heart rhythms and other body functions.
  • The primary electrolytes in the body are sodium, potassium, chloride, and bicarbonate.

Serum Potassium

High Potassium (Hyperkalemia)

  • Having too much potassium in your blood, a condition known as hyperkalemia can be dangerous.
  • It can lead to an abnormal heart rhythm requiring immediate medical attention.
  • Causes of high potassium levels can include kidney disease, certain medications, and excessive intake of potassium-rich foods.

Low Potassium (Hypokalemia)

  • Low potassium levels, or hypokalemia, can also have serious health implications.
  • It can cause muscle weakness, irregular heartbeat, and fatigue.
  • Hypokalemia can result from excessive fluid loss due to sweating, diarrhea, or frequent urination.

Serum Sodium

High Sodium (Hypernatremia)

  • High sodium levels, or hypernatremia, often indicate dehydration.
  • It can lead to thirst, headache, confusion, and in severe cases, seizures and coma.
  • Causes can include inadequate water intake, excessive salt intake, or certain medical conditions like kidney disease or diabetes insipidus.

Low Sodium (Hyponatremia)

  • Low sodium levels, or hyponatremia, can cause symptoms like nausea, headache, confusion, seizures, and in severe cases, coma.
  • Causes include drinking excessive water, heart failure, kidney disease, or certain medications.

Serum Magnesium

Low Magnesium (Hypomagnesemia)

  • Low magnesium levels, or hypomagnesemia, can lead to symptoms like muscle twitches, mental confusion, seizures, and irregular heartbeat.
  • Causes can include malnutrition, alcoholism, diarrhea, and certain medications.

In conclusion, maintaining a balanced level of these electrolytes is crucial for your health. Regular testing can help detect any imbalances early and allow for prompt treatment.

Role of Kidneys in Electrolyte Balance

Your kidneys work to keep electrolyte concentrations in the blood at a constant level no matter what changes take place in the body. They do this through the reabsorption of electrolytes into the blood or by elimination into the urine. The most common cause of electrolyte imbalance is kidney dysfunction.

Electrolyte levels are affected by how much is taken in through your diet, the amount of water in your body, and the quantity of electrolytes that is removed by your kidneys and urine. They are also affected by hormones, especially aldosterone, a hormone that retains sodium in the body but increases the loss of potassium through the kidneys.

Urgent Electrolytes testing is available at urgent care in Brisbane

At Urgent Care Brisbane, our emergency lab machine can test for serum electrolytes within 10 min and help our doctors decide the severity of the illness. Also, our main lab can complete full CHEM 20 testing in 1-2 hours; there would be a fee applicable for the urgent tests.

Urgent Care Brisbane is the emergency walk-in clinic you can visit for your emergency health care needs, and trust our team to look after you.

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