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How do electrolytes affect the heart?

Douglas E. Severance, MD
Douglas E. Severance, MD
Family Medicine
answer
Electrolytes are substances that help trigger and sustain the heart's electrical impulses. Potassium, sodium, calcium, and magnesium are necessary electrolytes in the blood that are vital to cell function. Studies show that blood pressure is related to dietary electrolytes. If you consume too much sodium, you can have high blood pressure. You can have high blood pressure if you have too little potassium, calcium, and magnesium. Eating foods high in calcium, potassium, and magnesium from fresh produce is important in keeping your blood pressure normal. The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) is rich in fruits and vegetables and low-fat dairy products. This diet is also low in sodium. If your electrolyte levels get too high or too low, it can alter the electrical impulses of your heart and trigger an arrhythmia.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.