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The Dominant Cation (+)

Sodium is the dominant cation (+) in ECF. Sodium helps regulate ECF osmolarity. Example: a shift in sodium concentrations will trigger a fluid volume change to restore normal solute and water ratios. Excessive or uncontrolled shifts can lead to other imbalances. Sodium is also involved in maintaining acid-base balance, nerve and muscle cell activation, and influences water distribution along with chloride.

At its worse, hyponatremia (a deficiency of sodium) can result in anxiety, headache, weak and twitching muscles, seizures, tachycardia, thready pulse, vasomotor collapse, abdominal cramps, nausea, cold clammy skin, and so on.

Hypernatremia (excess sodium) can result in fever, agitation, seizures, hypertension, tachycardia, edema, excessive weight gain, dry tongue, intense thirst, shortness of breath and respiratory arrest, and other unpleasant events.

View the USDA list of sodium content in foods

Section Last Modified:
11/15/2009 17:02 PT