Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
Salts and minerals that can conduct electrical impulses in the body. Common human electrolytes are sodium chloride, potassium, calcium, and sodium bicarbonate. Electrolytes control the fluid balance of the body and are important in muscle contraction, energy generation, and almost every major biochemical reaction in the body.
electrolytessubstances in solution in the ionized state, carrying an electrical charge (anions negative, cations positive). Applies to those in the body fluids, where dissociated sodium chloride is the major electrolyte in extracellular fluids (Na+and Cl-), and potassium (K+), with organic anions, in intracellular fluids. Other physiologically important cations are calcium and magnesium, and the anions bicarbonate and phosphate. Normal electrolyte concentrations are essential for normal cellular function. Movements of ions are crucial in the maintenance of potential differences across cell membranes and, for example, in the generation and transmission of nervous impulses, neuromuscular and synaptic transmission, and all secretory function. See also minerals; appendix 4.3 .
n.pl the ionized salts present in body fluids that play an important role in functioning of the human body. Electrolyte levels in blood plasma and urine are often used as diagnostic tools.
|Electrolytes (anions and cations)||Intravascular (mEq/L)||Interstitial (mEq/L)||Intracellular (mEq/L)|