The human body comprises approximately sixty percent of water (Westgard, 2011). The distribution of fluids in the body is not evenly balanced and is distributed into compartments known as intracellular and extracellular fluids. There are three important modes of homeostasis, which include fluid balance, acid-base balance, and electrolyte balance. In this paper, I discuss some concepts involved in fluid, electrolyte, and acid-base balance.
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The intracellular fluid (ICF) comprises numerous discrete and minuscule cellular packages. The intracellular fluid contains a high concentration of magnesium and potassium. It, however, contains a low concentration of chloride and sodium ions. The intracellular fluid accounts for approximately two-thirds of the total body fluids.
The extracellular fluid (ECF) is not contained in the body cells and is located in the blood, the brain and spinal cavities, lymph, muscular tissue, and other body cavities covered with serous membranes. The ECF is highly concentrated in sodium but possesses a low concentration of potassium. The ECF helps homeostasis by allowing a solute equilibrium between the external and internal parts of the cell and facilitating the exchange of inorganic ions.
Interstitial fluid (IF) is located in the crevices of all body tissues. It is a component of extracellular fluids and occurs in small portions. Besides linking intracellular fluids with the intravascular compartment, the interstitial fluid also bathes all cells in the body. It is important in homeostasis as a channel for the passage of oxygen, chemical messengers, and wastes.
I understand alkalemia to be a disruption of the acid-base balance triggered by a drop in the concentration of hydrogen ions, which causes an elevation in blood pH. During alkalemia, the escalation in pH causes a rise in the hemoglobin affinity for oxygen. Alkalemia can be corrected through respiratory mechanisms.
Oliguria refers to a condition characterized by an acute decrease in urine output (Heitz & Horne, 2012). It is often an indication of renal failure or a reaction of the kidneys to depletion of extracellular fluid volume. Oligurnic kidney injury often causes a condition where sodium and water excretion are impaired.
I believe that the concepts outlined in this paper are essential to a nurse’s understanding of fluid, electrolyte, and acid-base balance. This understanding is important for the nurse’s early comprehension of the human body.
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Heitz, U. & Horne, M. (2012). Pocket guide to fluid, electrolyte, and acid-base balance. United States: Elsevier Health Sciences.
Westgard, E. (2011). Clinical coach for fluid & electrolyte balance. Philadelphia, PA: F.A. Davis.