Chapter 8: Altered Fluid & Electrolyte Balance

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24 Questions

What is the primary function of the movement of water between intracellular fluid and extracellular fluid compartments?

Influence movements of water among body compartments

What are the Starling forces that influence the movement of fluid across capillary membranes?

Hydrostatic and osmotic forces

Which factor can contribute to edema formation?

Increased capillary filtration pressure

What is another term for colloid osmotic pressure?

Oncotic pressure

What is the most abundant cation in the extracellular compartment?


What is edema?

Excessive accumulation of fluid within the interstitial space

What can influence acid-base balance, fluid balance, and neural conductivity?

Sodium (Na+)

Which type of pressure influences the movement of water and nutrients between capillary and interstitial space?

Colloid osmotic pressure

How is osmolality defined?

Concentration of solute per weight of solution

What is the range for maintaining plasma Na+ levels?

135-145 mEq/L

Which system regulates tubular reabsorption of Na+?

Renin-Angiotensin-Aldosterone system

What plays an important role in maintaining Na+ and H2O balance?


Which hormone promotes water reabsorption in response to high plasma osmolality?

Antidiuretic hormone

What can lead to sodium and fluid imbalance if dysfunctional?

Renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system

What is the major intracellular cation?


Which electrolyte is mostly stored in bones?


What is the approximate total body potassium (K+) concentration?


What are some causes of hypokalemia?

Increased neuromuscular excitability

Which body fluid compartment is primarily composed of fluid within cells?

Intracellular fluid (ICF)

What can disruptions in electrolytes do to nerves and muscles?

Affect their electrical activity

Which electrolyte is typically found in high levels in extracellular fluids?

Sodium (Na+)

What does a disruption in acid-base balance mainly impact?

Cellular function

Which fluid compartment is found in the space between cells and outside blood vessels?

Interstitial fluids

Why is the regulation of electrolyte balance considered vital?

It is crucial for many physiological functions

Study Notes

Regulation of Electrolyte Balance

  • Regulation of electrolyte balance is critical to:
    • Maintain balance of charges across plasma membrane
    • Enable transmission of electrical impulses
    • Influence movements of water among body compartments
    • Maintain acid-base balance

Fluid Compartments

  • Total body water is approximately 2/3 intracellular fluid (ICF) and 1/3 extracellular fluid (ECF)
  • ICF is fluid within cells
  • ECF is fluid outside cells, including:
    • Interstitial fluids
    • Plasma and lymph fluids
    • Transcellular fluids (e.g. synovial, cerebrospinal, sweat, and urine)

Electrolyte Distribution

  • Extracellular fluids have:
    • High Na+, Cl-, and Ca++ levels
    • Low K+, Mg++, and PO43- levels
    • Moderate HCO3- levels
  • Intracellular fluids have:
    • High K+ levels
    • Low Ca++, Na+, HCO3-, and Cl- levels
    • Moderate Mg++ and PO43- levels

Regulation of Sodium Balance

  • Sodium balance is maintained within a narrow range (135-145mEq/L) by:
    • Renin-Angiotensin-Aldosterone system
    • Natriuretic peptide system
  • Sodium balance influences acid-base balance, fluid balance, and neural conductivity

Edema Formation

  • Excessive accumulation of fluid in the interstitial space
  • Factors contributing to edema formation:
    • Increased capillary hydrostatic pressure
    • Decreased colloid osmotic pressure in plasma
    • Increased capillary membrane permeability
    • Obstruction of lymphatic channels
  • Treatment for edema depends on the cause, and may include:
    • Elevating the edematous limb
    • Compression stockings
    • Avoiding prolonged standing
    • Restricting salt intake
    • Taking diuretics or IV albumin (in severe cases)

Potassium Balance

  • Potassium is a major intracellular cation
  • Normal functions of K+:
    • Influences intracellular fluid osmolality
    • Helps maintain intracellular electrical neutrality
    • Involved in glucose/glycogen deposition in liver and muscle
    • Helps maintain resting membrane potential in nerves and muscle
    • Involved in transmission of nerve impulses, cardiac rhythm, and muscle contractions
  • Alterations in K+ balance:
    • Hypokalemia (serum K+ < 3.5mEq/L) can be due to various causes, including:
      • Inappropriate use of drugs
      • Renal failure
      • Acidosis
    • Symptoms of hypokalemia vary with severity
    • Most symptoms are due to increased neuromuscular excitability

Learn about altered fluid balance, edema, altered electrolyte balance (sodium, potassium), and how fluids, electrolytes, and pH are maintained within a narrow range. Explore how electrolyte alterations, acid-base balance disruptions, and fluid fluctuations can impact the body's functioning.

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