1. Hypernatremia Signs and Symptoms — “FRIED SALT.”
Hypernatremia refers to a condition wherein the serum or plasma sodium is greater than 145 mEq/L. It is often due to water that is excessively lost through the gastrointestinal tract, skin or urine.
2. Hypocalcemia Signs and Symptoms — “CATS.”
Hypocalcemia occurs when the level of calcium in the body becomes abnormally low. It may be the result of low calcium production or insufficient calcium circulation in the body.
3. Hyperkalemia Signs and Symptoms — “MURDER.”
Hyperkalemia, or high potassium level in the blood, usually occurs when inefficient kidneys fail to remove potassium from the body or if the cells in the body release too much potassium. Excessive consumption of potassium may also lead to hyperkalemia, especially if the kidney function is compromised.
Signs and symptoms of hyperkalemia include muscle cramps that progress to weakness; urine abnormalities like oliguria or anuria; respiratory distress; decreased cardiac contractility; EKG changes; and abnormalities in reflexes such as hyperflexia or areflexia. These can easily be remembered using the acronym MURDER.
4. Hypokalemia Signs and Symptoms — “A SIC WALT.”
Low potassium level or hypokalemia is usually caused by kidney disease, antibiotics, diarrhea or vomiting, eating disorders, or sweating, among others.
Signs and symptoms of hypokalemia can be remembered using the acronyms A SIC WALT: Alkalosis, Shallow Respirations, Irritability, Confusion and drowsiness, Weakness and fatigue, Arrhythmias like tachycardia or bradycardia, Lethargy, and Thready pulse. There may also be decreased intestinal mobility, vomiting, and ileus. Try to picture your patient, Mr. Walt, saying “I am A SIC WALT.”