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Measuring and monitoring fluid balance

24 June 2021
Volume 30 · Issue 12

The calculation of fluid balance involves measuring the amount of fluid entering the body and comparing it to the amount of fluid leaving the body. The purpose is to determine whether there is a deficit or an excess of fluid (Bannerman, 2018). Understanding a patient's fluid status can give an indication of overall health. Osmoregulation, the process of maintaining osmotic pressure, is how the body controls fluid and electrolyte concentrations. This is particularly important for patients who are unwell or have conditions that affect the kidneys.

Maintenance of fluid balance is an important activity and is essential for optimal health. If a patient has too much or too little fluid, this imbalance can cause health problems. There are some pathophysiological conditions that can result in fluid overload, such as kidney disease and some types of heart disease. When overload occurs, the person finds it difficult to excrete excess water from the body, leading to oedema and serious health concerns. Dehydration occurs when the body is using more fluid than has been taken in or when there has been excessive fluid loss. The presence of oedema is a sign that fluid is in the wrong places. Patients who are oedematous may have fluid overload or be hypovolaemic.

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