Does this test have other names?
Potassium (K), Chloride (Cl), Carbon dioxide (CO2), Sodium (Na), Lytes, Serum electrolyte test, Electrolyte blood test
What is an electrolyte panel?
An electrolyte panel called a serum electrolyte test is a blood test that determines the number of electrolytes in the blood. An electrolyte imbalance can show lung, heart, or kidney disease. Abnormal levels of electrolytes also occur due to dehydration in the body.
What is an electrolyte?
Electrolytes are minerals found in blood, tissue, urine, and other body fluids. They regulate the fluid flow and maintain the acid-base balance in your body. They are also responsible for muscle and nerve regular activity, heart movement, and other significant functions. You take electrolytes from foods, supplements, and drinks.
What are the components of an electrolyte panel?
An electrolyte panel helps to measure the following electrically charged minerals in your body. The components are
- Sodium - It helps to regulate the amount of fluid in the body. It also provides support for the functions of muscles and nerves.
- Chloride - It also helps to regulate the amount of fluid in the body. It aims to balance the blood volume and blood pressure within the normal range.
- Potassium - It plays a role in the heart and for muscles to work under ideal conditions.
- Bicarbonate - It is a significant mineral in the body that maintains the acid-base level. Bicarbonate moves carbon dioxide within your bloodstream.
What is the purpose of the test?
An electrolyte panel is a blood test often part of a comprehensive metabolic panel or a routine blood screening. The test may use to identify an abnormal acid-base balance and the levels of electrolytes in the body. The test may detect electrolyte imbalances due to cancer, burns, diabetes, dehydration, heart disease, kidney disease, and liver disease.
In general, all electrolytes can test simultaneously. You can place an order for the electrolytes separately as well. Your provider recommends a separate test if they see some problem with that electrolyte.
When do I need a serum electrolyte test?
Your healthcare provider asks you to conduct an electrolyte panel if you experience symptoms of abnormal electrolyte levels in your body. Signs and symptoms include
- Disturbed heartbeat
- Nausea or/and vomiting
What is the procedure for the test?
You may need to provide a blood sample to your provider for a serum electrolyte test. A small needle inserts in a vein in your arm to collect a blood sample in a test tube. A bandage applies to your vein. The test does not take time greater than 5 minutes.
How do I get ready for the test?
You may need to stop taking certain medicines that can affect your test results. Your provider will inform you about any specific instructions for the test until you do not need to prepare for the test. If you may need to order additional blood tests, you have to keep fast for at least 7 to 8 hours before the test.
What are the risks involved in the test?
A serum electrolyte test is a blood test that does not have a high risk. You may experience a little pain at the point in your vein from where the blood collects. A chance of bleeding or bruising may also occur, but generally, these signs do not last long.
What does the serum electrolyte test result mean?
Your test results indicate the levels of each electrolyte in your blood. Abnormal levels of electrolytes may occur due to different reasons, such as
- Kidney disease
- Acidosis is a condition that indicates high levels of acid in your blood that may lead to nausea, vomiting, and fatigue.
- Heart problems
- Alkalosis is a condition that indicates high levels of a base in your blood that may lead to muscle shivering, tingling in the finger and toes, and feeling annoyed.
Your specific test results depend on which electrolytes are disturbed and show high or low levels in your blood. If your test results are not in the recommended range, it does not always mean that you have a medical condition. There are many elements that may alter electrolyte levels, such as the intake of large quantities of fluid or the excretion of fluid due to vomiting or diarrhea. Specific medicines, including antacids and blood pressure medicines, may also affect the test results. You can discuss your test results with a doctor by making an online appointment.
What is the recommended range for electrolytes?
The test results depend on a person's age, gender, medical history, and other factors. The results of a serum electrolyte test may vary slightly from one lab to another. That's because each lab may use different measurement methods for the test. The ideal range for an electrolyte depends are as follows:
Sodium - 136 to 144 mmol/L.
Potassium - 3.7 to 5.1 mmol/L
Chloride - 97 to 105 mmol/L.
Bicarbonate - 22 to 30 mmol/L.
What else do I need to know about an electrolyte panel?
Your healthcare provider may ask for an additional test known as an anion gap besides an electrolyte panel. Electrolytes contain positive or negative electric charges. An anion gap measures the difference between the negative and positive charged electrolytes. You may experience severe medical problems if the anion gap indicates a high or low level.
You can place an online order for the lab test at UmbrellaMD. It is an online healthcare provider that offers e-consultation, laboratory tests, medical imaging, and pharmacies. You do not need a prescription for the test. You can register here to get more information about our services.