Fluid and Electrolyte Series: Balancing act: Hypomagnesemia & hypermagnesemia
Ann Crawford PhD, RN
Helene Harris MSN, RN

$1.99
Nursing2014
October 2011 
Volume 41  Number 10
Pages 52 - 55
 
  PDF Version Available!

ABSTRACT
FLUIDS AND ELECTROLYTES are present in the intracellular fluid (ICF) compartment, interstitial spaces, and vascular compartment. Normal fluid and electrolyte balance is critical to maintaining overall normal body functions.In the previous article in this series, we discussed the normal functions of sodium and potassium. (See "Balancing Act: Sodium and Potassium" in the July issue of Nursing2011.) In this article, we review normal functions of magnesium as well as clinical manifestations and nursing interventions for imbalances of this important electrolyte.Note: Normal value ranges may vary slightly according to age group, gender, and lab reference values. Always refer to reference lab data to verify normal serum electrolyte ranges used in your institution.Magnesium is the second most common intracellular cation after potassium. About two-thirds of the body's magnesium is found in bones; most of the rest is found in the ICF compartment. Only about 2% of magnesium is located in extracellular fluid (ECF), which includes the vascular compartment and interstitial spaces. As a result, the normal serum magnesium concentration is relatively low, ranging from 1.5 to 2.5 mg/dL.About one-third of magnesium in the ECF is bound to protein (albumin), while the remaining two-thirds are free (ionized). It's the ionized portion that's largely involved with neuromuscular activity and other physiologic processes.1Major sources of magnesium include unprocessed cereal/grain and legumes. It's also found in all green vegetables, dairy products, dried fruit, and fish. It's absorbed by the intestines and excreted through the kidneys.1Besides its major role in neuromuscular activities, magnesium is a cofactor for over 300 enzymatic processes. Because magnesium works directly at the myoneural junction, it affects neuromuscular irritability and contractility.2 Magnesium is important for * generation of adenosine triphosphate (ATP). * proper functioning of the sodium-potassium pump. * carbohydrate,

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