Nursing Essays on Minerals and Water Function

Minerals and Water Function Essay

Minerals are inorganic substances that are vital as nutrients for the body to survive and execute daily processes and functions. Obtained from food, minerals keep human bodies healthy (free from disease) and have critical roles in their functions (Soetan, Olaiya, & Oyewole, 2010). Living organisms cannot make minerals in their bodies, but rather get them from the soil and environment by eating plants (which absorb them from the earth) and meat from animals or drinking water. Some critical roles of minerals in the body are acting as co-factors for enzyme reactions, maintenance of potential hydrogen (pH) balance in the body, and maintenance of proper nerve conduction. Others are assisting in effective relaxation and contraction of muscles, regulation of the growth of tissues, functional and structural support for the body, and facilitation of the transfer of nutrients across cell membranes (Soetan, Olaiya, & Oyewole, 2010).

Two major minerals in the body are calcium and phosphorous, while two minor ones are iodine and iron (Soetan, Olaiya, & Oyewole, 2010). Calcium, which human beings obtain from dairy products, cabbage, salmon, sardines, broccoli, kale, and other foods, is necessary to maintain the strength and health of bones and teeth, enable normal blood clotting, and promote healthy functioning of the nervous system. A deficiency in calcium could influence disorders such as osteoporosis and osteopenia. Human beings obtain phosphorous from lean meats, food additives, grains, and meat. It is essential for energy metabolism, healthy teeth and bones, and the maintenance of acid base balance in the body (Soetan, Olaiya, & Oyewole, 2010). A deficiency in phosphorous could influence bone diseases such as rickets among children and osteomalacia among adults. Iron is an important mineral obtained from meats, whole grains, eggs, and other foods to make oxygen-carrying proteins myoglobin and hemoglobin in muscles and blood respectively. Iron deficiency could cause anemia, whose symptoms include irritability, shortness of breath, lack of energy, headaches, dizziness, and weight loss. Iodine, which is available in organic yoghurt, sea vegetables, strawberries, and other foods, is important in the production of thyroid hormones, which keep the metabolic rate and cells healthy. Iodine deficiency could influence the development of goiter, developmental delays, and other health problems (Soetan, Olaiya, & Oyewole, 2010).

Anemia is a disorder that involves the lack of adequate hemoglobin and healthy red blood cells in blood. It means that the cells and muscles in the body are unable to get sufficient oxygen, influencing symptoms such as fatigue, dizziness, headaches, pale skin, shortness of breath, and insomnia (NHLBI, 2011). The most commonly affected groups of people are young children, new mothers, women, athletes, and people with chronic diseases because of the loss of blood, decreased or faulty production of red blood cells, or bone marrow and stem cell problems. The treatment or management of anemia is dependent on the fundamental cause of the disorder for individual patients, including deficiencies in vitamins and iron. Foods rich in iron, such as peas, leafy vegetables, beans, meats, seafood, and dried fruits, are essential to address anemia (NHLBI, 2011). In some extreme cases, treatment extends beyond diet management to include iron drugs.

Besides minerals, water is an essential component of the body and its functions. Human beings obtain water from food and by drinking water and other fluids. Its roles include regulation of body temperature (via perspiration), protection of tissues, joints, and the spinal cord (by lubrication and keeping them moist), helping the body to remove waste, aiding digestion, and preventing dehydration. Dehydration is a health problem because the body cannot function properly without adequate water. Some potential complications from dehydration could include seizures, heat injury (heat exhaustion, heatstroke, etc.), and kidney and urinary tract problems (such as kidney stones) (Batmanghelidj, 2003).

 

References

Batmanghelidj, F. (2003). Your Body’s many Cries for Water. The Governmental Health Forum, Washington DC. Retrieved from: http://www.naturalscience.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/wfns_special-report_water_03-03_english.pdf

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) (2011). In Brief: Your Guide to Anemia. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Retrieved from: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/files/docs/public/blood/anemia-inbrief_yg.pdf

Soetan, Olaiya, C., & Oyewole, O. (2010). The Importance of Mineral Elements for Humans, Domestic Animals, and Plants: A Review. African Journal of Food Science 4(5): 200-222. Retrieved from: http://www.academicjournals.org/article/article1380713863_Soetan%20et%20al.pdf