Approximately 56 percent of the human body consist of fluids.
Soft tissues consist almost completely of fluids. These body fluids are composed largely of water.
Thus, water is the major component of living substances.
The human body has a number of fluid compartments or spaces.
• the intracellular fluid
• the interstitial fluid
• the circulating (plasma) fluid
Within the cell, we have seen that the major constituent is water. This fluid is
called intracellular fluid ("within the cell").
All other fluids are extracellular. The extracellular fluids are found in two different compartments.
(1) The tissue fluid is located among but not within the cells of the body. It is
therefore called interstitial or intercellular fluid.
(2) In some systems, fluids serve as a vehicle to carry items around the
body. These systems are called circulatory systems. The circulating fluid is called the plasma, for example, the non-cellular component of blood.
Within the fluids of the body, there are certain chemicals known as electrolytes.
Electrolytes are chemicals that dissociate ("break up") into ions ("charged particles")when they are dissolved.
To maintain life and good health, electrolytes must be in balance. That is, they must be present in certain proportions and concentrations in each fluid compartment.
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