Electrolytes are minerals, such as sodium and potassium, that are found in the body. They keep your body's fluids in balance and help keep your body working normally, including your heart rhythm, muscle contraction, and brain function.
Carbon dioxide (CO2) is also measured in this test. CO2 is a waste product made when the body breaks down food for energy (metabolism). It takes the form of bicarbonate in the blood, so this part of the test is sometimes called a bicarbonate test. Bicarbonate helps your blood stay at the right pH.
Your doctor may order an electrolyte panel as part of a regular health examination. Your doctor may use this test to check on or diagnose a medical condition. Your doctor can also use an electrolyte panel to see if any medicines that you take have changed your electrolyte levels.
An electrolyte panel measures the blood levels of carbon dioxide, chloride, potassium, and sodium.