Electrolyte Disturbances and Disorders of Mineral Metabolism in the Elderly

  • Nages Nagaratnam
  • Kujan Nagaratnam
  • Gary Cheuk


With normal ageing physiological alterations in water and sodium regulation and associated changes in the renal and hormonal systems may contribute to relative frequency of water and electrolyte disorders. In the elderly glomerular filtration rate falls and water homeostasis falls due to decrease in thirst sensation. Water homeostasis falls due to the thirst sensation decreasing with age. Hence the ability to withstand disease-related environmental stress or iatrogenic stress becomes increasingly narrowed in the elderly. Dehydration is a frequent cause of morbidity and mortality in the elderly. The hormones aldosterone, antidiuretic hormone (ADH) and atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP) regulate the fluid and electrolyte balance and partly control the changes in fluid balance in the elderly. Disturbances of potassium homeostasis present as low or high serum potassium and are common among hospitalised patients. The metabolism of calcium and vitamin D is altered in a number of ways by ageing.


Age-related changes Water and electrolyte disorders Thirst sensation Hyponatraemia Hypernatraemia Hypokalaemia Hypercalcaemia 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nages Nagaratnam
    • 1
  • Kujan Nagaratnam
    • 2
  • Gary Cheuk
    • 3
  1. 1.Sydney Medical School (Westmead)The University of SydneyNorth RocksAustralia
  2. 2.Norwest Specialist Medical GroupBella VistaAustralia
  3. 3.Blacktown-Mt Druitt HospitalBlacktownAustralia

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