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  Test Electrolytes, Serum  
 
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Electrolytes exist in the blood as acids, bases, and salts (such as sodium, calcium, potassium, chloride, magnesium, and bicarbonate). They control such things as cardiac function and muscle contraction and are routinely measured by laboratory studies of the serum.

Magnesium is not routinely measured in a standard test of electrolytes, and should not be. Accuracy for magnesium status requires a different form of testing.
 

 
 

Test Electrolytes, Serum can help with the following:
 
 
Hormones  Hypoparathyroidism
 Calcium is the most closely controlled substance in the blood. For patients with hypoparathyroidism, calcium monitoring involves the measurement of total calcium and free (ionic) calcium.

  Hyperparathyroidism
 Calcium is the most closely controlled substance in the blood. The biologic variation of total calcium is approximately 2% and of the biologically active free (ionized, ionic) calcium only 1%. Thus, the monitoring of calcium in blood requires analytic procedures of high precision and accuracy. For patients with asymptomatic primary hyperparathyroidism, calcium monitoring involves the measurement of total calcium and free calcium.
 
 


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GLOSSARY

Calcium:  The body's most abundant mineral. Its primary function is to help build and maintain bones and teeth. Calcium is also important to heart health, nerves, muscles and skin. Calcium helps control blood acid-alkaline balance, plays a role in cell division, muscle growth and iron utilization, activates certain enzymes, and helps transport nutrients through cell membranes. Calcium also forms a cellular cement called ground substance that helps hold cells and tissues together.

Cardiac:  Pertaining to the heart, also, pertaining to the stomach area adjacent to the esophagus.

Electrolyte:  An element or compound that, when melted or dissolved in water or other solvent, breaks up into ions and is able to carry an electric current.

Magnesium:  An essential mineral. The chief function of magnesium is to activate certain enzymes, especially those related to carbohydrate metabolism. Another role is to maintain the electrical potential across nerve and muscle membranes. It is essential for proper heartbeat and nerve transmission. Magnesium controls many cellular functions. It is involved in protein formation, DNA production and function and in the storage and release of energy in ATP. Magnesium is closely related to calcium and phosphorus in body function. The average adult body contains approximately one ounce of magnesium. It is the fifth mineral in abundance within the body--behind calcium, phosphorus, potassium and sodium. Although about 70 percent of the body's magnesium is contained in the teeth and bones, its most important functions are carried out by the remainder which is present in the cells of the soft tissues and in the fluid surrounding those cells.

Potassium:  A mineral that serves as an electrolyte and is involved in the balance of fluid within the body. Our bodies contain more than twice as much potassium as sodium (typically 9oz versus 4oz). About 98% of total body potassium is inside our cells. Potassium is the principal cation (positive ion) of the fluid within cells and is important in controlling the activity of the heart, muscles, nervous system and just about every cell in the body. Potassium regulates the water balance and acid-base balance in the blood and tissues. Evidence is showing that potassium is also involved in bone calcification. Potassium is a cofactor in many reactions, especially those involving energy production and muscle building.

Serum:  The cell-free fluid of the bloodstream. It appears in a test tube after the blood clots and is often used in expressions relating to the levels of certain compounds in the blood stream.

Sodium:  An essential mineral that our bodies regulate and conserve. Excess sodium retention increases the fluid volume (edema) and low sodium leads to less fluid and relative dehydration. The adult body averages a total content of over 100 grams of sodium, of which a surprising one-third is in bone. A small amount of sodium does get into cell interiors, but this represents only about ten percent of the body content. The remaining 57 percent or so of the body sodium content is in the fluid immediately surrounding the cells, where it is the major cation (positive ion). The role of sodium in the extracellular fluid is maintaining osmotic equilibrium (the proper difference in ions dissolved in the fluids inside and outside the cell) and extracellular fluid volume. Sodium is also involved in nerve impulse transmission, muscle tone and nutrient transport. All of these functions are interrelated with potassium.