Malaria parasitaemia: effect on serum sodium and potassium levels
Serum sodium (Na+) and potassium (K+) levels were analyzed in 150 confirmed malaria patients from five different hospitals in Enugu metropolis, southeast Nigeria. The patients were divided into four different age brackets; 1-10, 11-20, 21-40 and >40 years respectively. Sixty apparently healthy, age-matched individuals were used as control subjects. The mean ± SD of the Na+ and K+ levels in malaria patients of all age ranges were significantly decreased (P<0.05) when compared with the controls. Comparison of the different age brackets showed a statistically significant difference (P<0.05) between the mean ± SD in the (11-20years) age bracket compared with the other age brackets. There was however no significant difference (P>0.05) between the values obtained in the age brackets; 1-10, 21-40, and > 40 years respectively. The study shows that there is significant lowering of the Na+ and K+ levels in malaria infection. Subjects between 11-20 years were the most vulnerable in this regard from the result of the study and constitute the major risk group. Electrolytes (Na+ and K+) should be monitored in malaria patients to enhance patient management.