Definition A fluid imbalance refers to an abnormal level of fluids in the body. Causes, incidence, and risk factors Your body is constantly losing fluids through breathing, sweating, and urinating. If you do not take in enough fluids, you may become dehydrated . Your body may also have a hard time getting rid of fluids, allowing excess fluid to build up. This is called fluid overload. Many illnesses can cause fluid imbalance: It is common to retain large amounts of fluid for several days after surgery (causing swelling of the body). In heart failure , fluid collects in the lungs, liver, blood vessels, and body tissues because the heart does a poor job of pumping it to the kidneys where it can be eliminated. When the kidneys do not work well because of chronic kidney disease , the body cannot get rid of unneeded fluids. The body may lose too much fluid due to diarrhea , vomiting, excessive blood loss, or high fever. A fluid imbalance is often associated with imbalances of sodium, potassium (see: hyp...
Last year, I began doing pieces based on Edge questions. Edge, which bills itself as an online salon, annually asks a provocative question of leading scientists and writers and the like. Their answers are published as a series of books.
You can find my five previous bipolar takes to the following questions by clicking the links below:
What Have You Changed Your Mind About? Why?
What Scientific Concept Would Improve Everyone’s Cognitive Toolkit?
What Is Your Favorite Deep, Elegant, or Beautiful Explanation?
What Scientific Idea is Ready for Retirement?
What Do We Believe But Cannot Prove?
This year’s Edge question is framed as a statement: This Idea Must Die: Scientific Theories That Are Blocking Progress.
This was an easy one: Chemical imbalance of the brain. The scientific community emphatically laid this idea to rest ages ago, but you wou...
Electrolytes are minerals that are normally in your body. Each one carries a very tiny electrical charge. Electrolytes are in your blood, urine, and other body fluids. Having the right balance of electrolytes helps your body keep fluids at proper levels. Sodium, potassium, chloride, and calcium are all electrolytes. You get electrolytes from the foods you eat and the fluids you drink, and you lose electrolytes when you sweat.
The symptoms of an electrolyte imbalance can include:
Chemotherapy can cause your electrolyte levels to become too low or too high. Changes to the amount of water in your body because of side effects such as vomiting or diarrhea also can cause an electrolyte imbalance.
Managing an electrolyte imbalance
If you think you may have an electrolyte imbalance, talk to your doctor. Your electrolyte levels can be checked with a blood or urine test. If you do have an imbalance your doctor may advise you to eat foods rich in that electrol...
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