Electrolyte and Mineral Metabolism Disorders

What are electrolyte and mineral metabolism disorders?

As kidney disease progresses, a wide range of disorders may develop, including fluid and electrolyte imbalances, mineral imbalances, hormonal imbalances that lead to anemia and hyperparathyroidism that relates to the development of bone disease, and systemic dysfunction called uremic syndrome — with neuropathy, anorexia, nausea, vomiting, fatigue and malnutrition.

Types of electrolyte and mineral metabolism disorders

  • Magnesium disorders – too much or too little magnesium affects all organ systems. Magnesium plays a key role in many cell functions including protein, carbohydrate and fat metabolism, regulation of the parathyroid hormone secretion, and maintenance of normal cell membrane functions. Magnesium lowers blood pressure and alters vascular resistance — the resistance that must be overcome to push blood through the circulatory system and create flow.
  • Electrolyte disorders – a rise in sodium concentration after a decrease in total body water. Because the kidneys are primarily responsible for the regulation of fluid and electrolyte balance, acute or chronic changes in renal function can result in multiple imbalances.
  • Calcium disorders – too much or too little calcium. Calcium regulation is critical for normal cell function, membrane stability, bone structure, blood coagulation, intracellular signaling.
  • Parathyroid disease – parathyroid glands keep the calcium and phosphorus in the blood at a constant, normal level. If the blood calcium becomes low, the parathyroid gland will respond by secreting more parathyroid hormone. This extra parathyroid hormone then will pull calcium from the bones, correcting the low blood level. This give-and- take response works well until kidney failure begins to occur. An increase in parathyroid hormone is common with kidney failure. As blood phosphorus levels rise, so do parathyroid hormone levels. Second, the diseased kidney cannot activate vitamin D. Without activated vitamin D, calcium cannot be absorbed from your intestines into your blood. When the blood calcium level drops, the parathyroids respond by producing more parathyroid hormone. Hyperparathyroidism (an enlargement of the glands) often develops. Then, even more parathyroid hormone is produced.
  • Phosphorus level problems – phosphorus is the second most common mineral in the body after calcium and is needed for good health. However, people with chronic kidney disease have difficulty eliminating extra phosphorus from their bodies. For this reason, it is important to know how to lower high phosphorus levels.
  • Vitamin D disorders


Kidney Care (Nephrology)

Our nephrologists, located throughout the Philadelphia suburbs, will medically manage your kidney conditions and develop a treatment plan based on your specific needs.