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Discuss the main function of electrolytes and what happens if the electrolytes are out of...

Question:

Discuss the main function of electrolytes and what happens if the electrolytes are out of balance. What does electrolyte balance have to do with execution by lethal injection?

Electrolytes:

Electrolytes are substances, that when dissolved, separates into cations and anions, which disperse uniformly through the solvent. In the body it is vital to maintain the water-electrolyte balance to maintain normal body function, or homeostasis. Examples of electrolytes are sodium, potassium, chloride, calcium, magnesium, and phosphate.

Answer and Explanation:

Electrolytes are used in many chemical reactions of the body. If the balance of water and electrolytes in the cells is unbalanced, it can lead to malfunctions. In terms of lethal injection, the electrolyte of potassium chloride is what causes the heart to stop. The large injection of potassium into the bloodstream causes hyperkalemia. This imbalance prevents the heart muscles from refiring, stopping the heart beating causing cardiac arrest.


Learn more about this topic:

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Sodium, Potassium & Chloride: Electrolyte Deficiency & Toxicity Symptoms

from Nutrition 101: Science of Nutrition

Chapter 8 / Lesson 1
51K

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