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Magnesium Sulfate

Magnesium Sulfate And Medicine

Magnesium sulfate is used to prevent the convulsions and seizures that can occur during pregnancy, in a condition known as eclampsia. Eclampsia is characterized by high blood pressure, edema (swelling of tissues, notably in the arms and legs), and convulsions. Magnesium sulfate is used to prevent and reduce the severity of convulsions and to reduce some of the excess body fluids. Magnesium sulfate is used as a purgative (laxative). It is thought to work by preventing the intestines from taking up or absorbing water from their contents, thus stimulating more frequent bowel movements. It has also been used to treat some heavy metal poisoning (notably barium, which is in the same family of the periodic table) and works by helping the body to rid itself of the contents of the digestive tract more rapidly. Magnesium sulfate is used to treat conditions of low blood levels of magnesium. It is used over other compounds containing magnesium because of its greater solubility and thus more rapid uptake by the body.

Recent research has shown that there is a link between diabetes and lower blood levels of magnesium. This does not necessarily mean that low blood levels of magnesium cause diabetes, but may simply mean that magnesium is lost more rapidly due to the frequent urination of people with diabetes.

Resources

Periodicals

Fackelman, K. "Magnesium Eases Diabetics Blood Pressure." Science News 138 (22 September 1990): 189.

"Magnesium Supplementation in the Treatment of Diabetes." Saturday Evening Post 264 (September-October 1994): 66.

Malesky, G. "Magnesium for Moms to Be." Prevention 41 (January 1989): 8.

Owens, Mona, W. "Keeping an Eye on Magnesium." American Journal of Nursing 93 (February 1993): 66.


Louis Gotlib

KEY TERMS

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Eclampsia

—A condition of pregnancy marked by high blood pressure, swelling of body tissues, and eventually convulsions.

Edema

—An abnormal collection of fluids in the body tissues.

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Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Macrofauna to MathematicsMagnesium Sulfate - Physical And Chemical Properties Of Magnesium Sulfate, Magnesium Sulfate And Medicine