The reference range of the anion gap is 3-11 mEq/L.
The normal value for the serum anion gap is 8-16 mEq/L.
High or low electrolyte levels can be caused by several conditions and diseases.
Generally, they are affected by how much is consumed in the diet and absorbed by the body, the amount of water in a person’s body, and the amount eliminated by the kidneys. They are also affected by some hormones such as aldosterone, a hormone that conserves sodium and promotes the elimination of potassium, and natriuretic peptides, which increase elimination of sodium by the kidneys.
With respect to the amount of water in a person’s body, people whose kidneys are not functioning properly, for example, may retain excess fluid. This results in a dilution effect on sodium and chloride so that they fall below normal concentrations.
On the other hand, people who experience severe fluid loss may show an increase in potassium, sodium, and chloride concentrations. Some conditions such as heart disease and diabetes may also affect the fluid and electrolytes balance in the body and cause abnormal levels of electrolytes.
Knowing which electrolytes are out of balance can help a health practitioner determine the underlying cause and make decisions about treatment to restore proper balance.
Left untreated, an electrolyte imbalance can lead to various problems, including dizziness, cramps, irregular heartbeat, and possibly death.
Keyword: anion gap