Fluid and Electrolyte Disorders

A range of factors can compromise the kidneys’ ability to perform their vital work. These include illnesses like diabetes or high blood pressure, inflammation and a range of inherited conditions. Deficiency or excess in key minerals like calcium and phosphorous, electrolyte imbalances like sodium and potassium, dehydration and fluid retention can all have their genesis in the kidneys.

At the University of Michigan, patients with these issues are evaluated and treated within the General Nephrology Clinic. Here, an expert team provides diagnostic evaluation and treatment planning to help manage these disorders.

Signs and Symptoms

Changes in the body’s levels of minerals including potassium, magnesium, calcium and sodium—and the corresponding impact these have on the body’s function, muscle strength and heart rhythm can be associated with disorders of kidney or endocrine glands.

Unrelated to diabetes mellitus, Diabetes Insipidus can arise from a deficit in antidiuretic hormone (ADH), or by the kidneys’ inability to react to ADH. This results in the formation of large quantities of dilute urine regardless of fluid intake and development of thirst.

Fluid imbalances on both ends of the spectrum may be a manifestation of poor kidney health. Edema, which occurs when the body retains too much fluid, commonly causes swelling and pain in the face, arms, legs, hands and feet. Dehydration, which happens when the body loses more fluids than it consumes, can cause a range of symptoms including thirst, weakness, light headedness, fainting and decreases in urine output or increases in its concentration (darker colored urine).

Diagnosis and Treatment

Michigan Medicine’s General Nephrology Clinic offers comprehensive diagnostic testing to identify the issues behind these imbalances. In addition to blood and urine testing to identify mineral and electrolyte deficiencies, diagnostics including controlled water deprivation testing and stimulation tests are offered to better understand the nature of a patient’s water and potassium disturbance.

Based on the patient’s diagnosis, an individualized treatment plan is developed which may involve medications, dietary and fluid intake recommendations, and lifestyle modifications.

Patient Resources

Appointments and Referrals

The General Nephrology Clinic is located in the Taubman Center, reception area 3C. Appointments can be made directly by calling 734-647-9342. Physician referrals can be made by calling M-Line at 800-962-3555.