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Electrolyte and salt disturbances in older people: causes, management and implications

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 May 2008

Roy L Soiza*
Department of Medicine for the Elderly, Woodend Hospital, Aberdeen, UK
Graeme E Hoyle
Department of Medicine for the Elderly, Woodend Hospital, Aberdeen, UK
Melvin PW Chua
Department of Medicine for the Elderly, Woodend Hospital, Aberdeen, UK
Address for correspondence: RL Soiza, Department of Medicine for the Elderly, Woodend Hospital, Eday Road, Aberdeen AB15 6XS, UK. Email:


Salt and electrolyte disturbances are commonly encountered in older patients. A sound understanding of the underlying physiological and pathological mechanisms underpinning the predisposition of older people to the common electrolyte imbalances can help clinicians minimize their considerable associated morbidity and mortality. This review focuses on the more common and clinically relevant salt and electrolyte disorders of older people. The epidemiology, causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of hyponatraemia, hypernatraemia, hyperkalaemia, hypokalaemia and calcium and phosphate imbalance in old age are covered from a clinician's perspective.

Clinical geriatrics
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2009

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