Ways To Restore Electrolyte Imbalance In Body

By Patricia | June 10, 2009

My grandmother has foot and leg cramps while sleeping at night, please suggest some remedies

Your grandmother’s cramping is a common problem for most people her age and happens quite often. The reason for it is an electrolyte imbalance in the body. It is also a common problem for people who play sports as well, because they sweat and lose a lot of fluid. This is the reason that the muscles cramp, because of a lack of electrolyte.

What causes it?

Electrolyte in the body consists of salts of potassium, sodium, calcium and magnesium. All these are responsible for transmitting electrical signs from the brain to parts of the body. Sodium plays an even more important role in this regard. Our blood supplies oxygen and nutrients to the various cells of our body but the blood does not go directly into a cell to nourish it. The blood vessels branch out into capillaries, which pass by a fluid called interstitial fluid. This is where nutrients from the blood pass through and then from there further to the cells. The interstitial fluid is almost completely made of sodium chloride – salt – mixed with water. When there are low amounts of sodium in the body, this fluid goes right out of the body and the subsequent imbalance causes an electrical short circuit, which manifests itself as a muscle cramp. Always maintain the electrolyte balance by keeping a healthy intake from drinks that contain the essential salts. These are available as health drinks and are a staple drink of most sportspeople.

Another way, though a slightly more tasteless way of restoring the electrolyte balance is to increase the intake of potassium into the system. Do this by purchasing potassium chloride from the drugstore, mixing it in a solution of honey and giving it to your grandmother. Potassium chloride is quite vile to taste so you have to give it in a sweet medium. This should prevent any cramping if taken daily. When your grandmother does get the cramps, the best way to deal with them is by stretching the muscle out. When a cramp occurs, the contraction of the muscle causes it to pull on its support structures. To reduce this pain, stretch that muscle out externally. So, if her foot starts to cramp and her toes pull downward, ask her to stand on her toes, as if she was wearing heels. This will give her relief in a matter of seconds. Remember, when there is a cramp; fight the cramp by pulling the muscle in the opposite direction of contraction.

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