Interpretation of the level of electrolytes is based on assessing the normal level of these electrolytes in the body.
Normal Sodium level- 136-146mEq/L
Hyponatraemia is considered to be serum sodium below 134 mEq/L. Odium levels are influenced by the fluid status of our body. A common cause of hyponatremia is water retention due to cardiac or renal or hepatic failure, hypothyroidism etc.
Other causes of hyponatremia include some medicines, psychogenic polydipsia (excessive water intake), syndrome of inappropriate antidiuretic hormone secretion (SIADH), and chronic or severe diarrhoea and vomiting.
Hypernatraemia is defined as serum sodium greater than 146 mEq/L. Causes of hypernatraemia are simply anything that leads to excessive water loss or salt gain. For example, water depletion or dehydration may be caused by diarrhoea and vomiting or elevated sugar or glucose levels. Excessive ingestion of sodium is rare, but the administration of infusions containing sodium such as sodium chloride or sodium bicarbonate may lead to hypernatraemia.
The normal level of serum potassium is 3.5-4.5 mEq/L.
Hypokalaemia is defined as serum potassium less than 3.5 mmol/L. Low serum potassium may be caused by decreased oral intake, increased renal or gastrointestinal loss of potassium, or a shift of potassium within the body’s fluid compartments (from outside the cell where it should be, to inside the cell).Common clinical features of hypokalemia range from muscle weakness and ileus (lack of peristalsis) to serious cardiac arrhythmias such as ventricular tachycardias.
Hyperkalaemia, serum potassium greater than 5.0 mmol/L, may be caused by excessive intake, tissue damage from burn injury or trauma, medicines such as potassium-sparing diuretics, some blood pressure medications etc.
The normal level of serum chloride is as follows-
- Adults: 98–106 mEq/L
- Children: 90–110 mEq/L
- Newborn babies: 96–106 mEq/L
- Premature babies: 95–110 mEq/L
Hypochloremia is defined as serum chloride levels below 96–101 mEq/L, while hyperchloremia normally is defined as serum chloride levels higher than 106–111 mEq/L.
As we usually get chloride in salt it’s rare to have low chloride levels. Hypochloremia is caused by diarrhoea, vomiting, kidney problems, SIADH, and some medications like diuretics. Hyperchloremia or high chloride levels are caused by a fluid loss in the body, kidney problems, diabetic coma and some medications like diuretics or corticosteroids.
The test results may indicate any of the above but it is the responsibility of the individual to report to the doctor with the test results get a clear analysis of the test report and avail the necessary treatment.