Fluids & Electrolytes

By: Alere Staff

Our bodies are made up mostly of water and since water is needed to help the body function normally, it is healthy for all of us to stay well hydrated. Good fluid and electrolyte balance can be even more important for people taking medications such as warfarin.

In the summertime when temperatures and humidity can soar, it is especially necessary to be mindful of this balance. Water intake must balance with how much water you lose. Getting enough water into our bodies is essential to our good health as it is in every cell, tissue and organ.

Most of our fluid needs are met by drinking when we are thirsty and with our meals, but when it is warm outside, we may need to make an effort to drink extra fluids. Drinking too much is difficult, but it is usually better than drinking too little because removing the extra water is much easier for your body than conserving water.

Keeping this balance is also important with electrolytes. According to the National Institutes of Health, mineral salts or electrolytes, such as sodium and potassium, are dissolved in the water of your body. The body uses electrolytes to help regulate nerve and muscle function and to maintain balance.

Normal, healthy diets provide us with a supply of electrolytes that keep our bodies functioning and our fluid balance in check. Sports drinks often have electrolytes added to them to assure we are maintaining the mineral levels in our bodies steadily during times of increased temperature, humidity or activity. Medications such as warfarin function best when our fluids and electrolytes are balanced. Consistently paying attention to healthy hydration is one thing we can do to stay safe and keep our INRs in range.