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the equilibrium between electrolytes in the body.
electrolyte balance The critical balance between the concentration in the cells and that in the tissue fluid surrounding the cells of the various inorganic IONS. The electrolytes mainly in the cells are potassium, magnesium, sulphate and phosphate. Those in the surrounding fluid are mainly sodium, chloride and bicarbonate. This balance is essential to life and is maintained by the active pumping action of the cell membranes.
electrolyte balance the state of appropriate concentrations of ionized solutes in the body fluids. Exercise-induced disturbances in electrolyte balance are mainly related to either increase or decrease in concentration of sodium [Na+], the most abundant cation in the extracellular fluids. Increase in plasma [Na+] (hypernatraemia) is associated with depletion of blood volume by severe sweat loss and is common in athletes at the end of long-distance races. Exercise-associated decrease in plasma [Na+] (hyponatraemia) is not uncommonly seen after prolonged activity such as a marathon where runners, aware of the importance of adequate fluid intake and rehydration, overcompensate with low-sodium drinks or excessive plain water (water intoxication). This can result in significant hyponatraemia, leading at worst to cardiovascular collapse and death. See also hydration status, potassium, sodium, sports drinks.