Electrolyte Imbalance : Symptoms, Causes, Abnormalities, Treatment and MCQs for NEET, GPAT, CSIR NET JRF

Electrolyte Imbalance : Symptoms, Causes, Abnormalities, Treatment and MCQs for NEET, GPAT, CSIR NET JRF


1.] There are many chemicals in our blood stream that regulate important function of our bodies. These chemicals are called electrolytes.

2.] Our body’s nerve reaction and muscle formation are dependent upon the popular exchange of these electrolyte ion outside and inside cell.

3.] Intracellular compartment has higher concentration of potassium, calcium, magnesium and phosphate ion than the blood.

4.] In extracellular fluid (including serum) has higher concentration of sodium, chloride and bicarbonate ion.

5.] For electrolyte homeostasis, the electrolyte concentration in both the compartment should be within the normal limits.

6.] Normal serum level of electrolytes are maintained in the body by the careful balance of 4 processes : Their intake, absorption, distribution and excretion.

7.] Disturbance in any of the above mentioned process is in diverse pathophysiologic state may cause electrolyte imbalance.


Common symptoms of an electrolyte disorder include :-

  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Fast heart rate
  • Fatigue
  • Lethargy
  • Convulsions or seizures
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea and constipation
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Muscle cramping
  • Headache


1.] It may cause because of excessive loss of body fluids through prolonged vomiting, diarrhea or sweating.

2.] This may also develop due to fluid loss related to burns.

3.] Certain medication can also cause electrolyte imbalance.


A.] SODIUM : Hyponatraemia and Hypernatraemia

B.] POTASSIUM : Hypokalaemia and Hyperkalaemia

C.] CALCIUM : Hypocalcaemia and Hypercalcaemia

D.] MAGNESIUM : Hypomagnesaemia and Hypermagnesaemia


In general, certain treatments are used to restore the proper balance of minerals in the body. These include:

Intravenous (IV) fluids

Intravenous (IV) fluids, typically sodium chloride, can help rehydrate the body. This treatment is commonly used in cases of dehydration resulting from vomiting or diarrhea. Electrolyte supplements can be added to IV fluids to correct deficiencies.

Certain IV medications

IV medications can help your body restore electrolyte balance quickly. They can also protect you from negative effects while you’re being treated by another method.

The medication you receive will depend on the electrolyte disorder you have. Medications that may be administered include calcium gluconate, magnesium chloride, and potassium chloride.

Oral medications and supplements

Oral medications and supplements are often used to correct chronic mineral abnormalities in your body. This is more common in if you’ve been diagnosed with ongoing kidney disease.

Depending on your electrolyte disorder, you may receive medications or supplements such as:

  • calcium (gluconate, carbonate, citrate, or lactate
  • magnesium oxide
  • potassium chloride
  • phosphate binders, which include sevelamer hydrochloride (Renagel), lanthanum (Fosrenol), and calcium-based treatments such as calcium carbonate

They can help replace depleted electrolytes on a short- or long-term basis, depending on the underlying cause of your disorder. Once the imbalance has been corrected, your doctor will treat the underlying cause.

Although some of the supplements can be purchased over the counter, most people with electrolyte disorders get a prescription for supplements from their doctor.


Hemodialysis is a type of dialysis that uses a machine to remove waste from your blood.

One way to get the blood to flow to this artificial kidney is for your doctor to surgically create a vascular access, or an entrance point, into your blood vessels.

This entrance point will allow a larger amount of blood to flow through your body during hemodialysis treatment. This means more blood can be filtered and purified.

Hemodialysis can be used when an electrolyte disorder is caused by sudden kidney damage and other treatments aren’t working. Your doctor may also decide on hemodialysis treatment if the electrolyte problem has become life-threatening.



1.] Electrolyte balance in the body usually refers to the balance of ?

a. Bases

b. Salts

c. Organic molecules

d. Acids

2.] Pica occurs when there is a deficiency of ?

a. Mineral such as iron

b. Electrolytes

c. Salts

d. Water

3.] Edema is the accumulation of fluid in the ?

a. Interstitial space

b. Special fluid compartments

d. Plasma

4.] The most prevalent electrolyte in the extracellular fluid is ?

a. Potassium

b. Calcium

c. Phosphate

d. Sodium

5.] The condition in which sodium level are too low is referred to as ?

a. Hyponatremia

b. Hypokalemia

c. Aldosteronism

d. Hypernatremia

6.] Which patient is at most risk for fluid volume deficiency ?

a. A patient who has been vomiting and having diarrhea for 2 days

b. A patient with continuous nasogastric suction

c. A patient with an abdominal wound vac at intermittent suction

d. All of the above are correct

7.] Which patient is at most risk for the hypomagnesemia ?

a. A 55 year old chronic alcoholic

b. A 57 year old with hyperthyroidism

c. A patient reporting overuse of antacid and laxative

d. A 28 year old suffering from hypoglycemia

8.]  All the following are important electrolyte in the body except ?

a. Potassium ion

b. Carbon ion

c. Chloride ion

d. Sodium ion

9.]  Approximately one – third of the body water exist in the ?

a. Kidney and urinary bladder

b. Blood

c. Extracellular fluid compartment

d. Transcellular fluid compartment

10.] The intracellular fluid compartment refers to all the water found in ?

a. The bones of the body

b. Area outside the body cell

c. Areas within the gastrointestinal tract

d. All cells of the body



1.] (b) Salts

2.] (a) Mineral such as iron

3.] (a) Interstitial space

4.] (d) Sodium

5.] (a) Hyponatremia

6.] (d)

7.] (a) A 55 year old chronic alcoholic

8.] (b) Carbon ion

9.] (c) Extracellular fluid compartment

10.] (d) All cells of the body


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1.] Textbook Of Pathology By Harsh Mohan; 7th edition; Page no. 88 – 89.


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