Are you ready to learn about Solutions, Body Fluids, and Electrolytes? If so, you’re in the right place because that is what this study guide is all about.

The practice questions found below correlate well with Egan’s Chapter 13, so you can use this information to help prepare for your exams.

Are you ready to get started? If so, let’s go ahead and dive in.

Solutions, Body Fluids, and Electrolytes Practice Questions:

1. What is a stable mixture of two or more substances in a single phase, that cannot be separated by centrifuge?

2. What is a substance that dissolves?

3. What is a medium in which a substance is dissolved?

4. What is a colloid?
A substance consisting of large molecules that attract and hold water.

5. What is an example of a colloid?
The protoplasm inside of cells.

6. What is a suspension?
They are composed of large particles that float in a liquid.

7. What is an example of a suspension?
Red blood cells in plasma.

8. What does NaCl stand for?
Sodium chloride.

9. What is tonicity?
How much osmotic pressure is exerted by a solution.

10. What is hypertonic?
High tonicity greater than 0.9% NaCl.

11. What is hypotonic?
Low tonicity less than 0.9% NaCl.

12. What is it called when two solutions have the same or similar tonicity?
Isotonic (equal to 0.9% NaCl).

13. How does a hypertonic solution affect the cells?
It draws water out of the cells in order to reach equilibrium of pressures.

14. How does a hypotonic solution affect the cells?
It adds water to the cells in order to reach equilibrium of pressures.

15. What is the force produced by solvent particles under certain conditions?
Osmotic pressure.

16. What does osmotic pressure do?
It redistributes solvent molecules so that the same concentration exists on both sides of a semipermeable membrane.

17. What allows the passage of solutes but not solvents?
Semipermeable membrane.

18. What are positive ions that migrate to the negative pole of an electrode in an electrolyte solution?

19. What are negative ions that migrate to the positive pole of an electrode in an electrolyte solution?

20. What is the common expression of the minute values for most chemicals in the body?
mEq or milligram equivalent weights.

21. Dilute 10 ml of a 2% solution to a concentration of 0.5%?
10 * 0.02 / 0.005 = 40 ml

22. What kind of compound can donate H+ or accept an electron pair in an aqueous solution?

23. What is the relationship between Hydrogen ions and protons?
They are the same thing.

24. What is a compound that yields hydroxyl (OH) ions when placed in an aqueous solution?

25. What is a substance that can inactivate an acid?

26. What is another name for a base compound that inactivates an acid?

27. What is it called when a base is paired with an acid that donates the proton?
A conjugate pair.

28. What does the pH scale describe?
The concentration of H+ in a solution.

29. Is pH represented as a positive or a negative number?

30. What is the pH of water?

31. What is the pH of the body?
7.40 with a range of 7.35-7.45

32. What is the pH scale?
A scale of pH ranging for 1-14 with 7 in the middle representing water, decrease in number becomes more acidic the more it moves to the left, increase in number means more alkaline the more it moves to the right.

33. What does a pH of 3 represent?

34. What does a pH of 12 represent?
Alkaline (basic)

35. What is the major component of the body?

36. What percentage of the body is water?

37. What effect does increased CO2 have on pH?
Decreased pH, acidic.

38. What effect does decreased CO2 have on pH?
Increased pH, alkaline.

39. What is the fluid between cells but outside of vascular spaces?
Interstitial fluid.

40. What does interstitial fluid do?
It provides structural support during times of cellular volume depletion.

41. What are the predominant extracellular electrolytes?
Sodium (Na+), chloride (Cl-), and bicarbonate (HCO3-).

42. What are the predominant intracellular electrolytes?
Potassium (K+), magnesium (Mg++), phosphate (PO43-), and sulfate (SO42-).

43. What causes the high osmotic pressure of plasma?
Protein, chiefly albumin.

44. What is an important determinant of fluid distribution between vascular and interstitial compartments?
Osmotic pressure.

45. Intravascular and interstitial fluids have similar what?
Electrolyte compositions.

46. What are examples of insensible water loss?
Skin and lungs.

47. What is the average daily volume loss of water from the lungs?
200 ml

48. What is the average daily volume loss of water from the skin?
700 ml

49. What are examples of sensible water loss?
Urinary and GI tract.

50. What causes an almost immediate shift of the body to alkalinity?
Washing out of the stomachs acid; vomiting.

51. What causes an almost immediate shift of the body to acidity?
Washing out the GI tracts bases; diarrhea.

52. Does ventilation have an effect on water loss?
Yes, yes it does.

53. What are ways to replenish water?
Ingestion and metabolism.

54. How does most water get replaced?
Ingestion from liquid and solid food.

55. How does metabolism replace water?
Oxidation of fats, carbohydrates, and proteins; also the destruction of cells.

56. What is the average amount of liquid consumed each day by an adult?
1500-2000 mL

57. What is the pressure caused by the weight of a fluid called?
Hydrostatic pressure

58. Hydrostatic pressure can also be defined as?
The volume of fluid in a container and the effects of gravity.

59. What is the importance of hydrostatic pressure?
It enhances the movement of fluid and solutes between capillary blood to interstitial fluid.

60. What causes an increase in hydrostatic pressure?
Back-pressure from failing left ventricle; congestive heart failure.

61. How does an increase in hydrostatic pressure effect the pulmonary circuit?
It disrupts the balance, causing fluid to move into the alveolar-capillary spaces; pulmonary edema.

62. What is the normal value of sodium (Na+)? value range?
140 mEq/L; 135-145 mEg/L

63. What is the normal value for chloride (Cl-)? value range?
90 mEq/L; 80-100 mEq/L

64. What is the normal value of potassium (K+)? value range?
4 mEq/L; 3.5-4.5 mEq/L

65. What is the normal value for bicarbonate (HCO3-)? value range?
24 mEq/L; 22-26 mEq/L

66. What is a low level of sodium called?

67. What is hypernatremia?
High level of sodium.

68. What is hypochloremia?
Low level of chloride.

69. What is a high level of chloride called?

70. What is hypokalemia?
Low level of potassium.

71. What is a high level of potassium called?

72. What is the ratio of bicarbonate (HCO3-) to carbonic acid in a healthy individual?
20:1, resulting in 7.40 pH

73. Bicarbonate (HCO3-) is the primary means of transporting what?
CO2 from the tissues to the lungs.

74. Hyperkalemia is a common result of what?
Renal insufficiency restriction of potassium (K+) intake.

75. What regulates HCO3- levels to maintain a near normal pH in an acid-base disorder?
The kidneys.

76. What do the kidneys do in respiratory acidosis?
Retain or produce HCO3- to buffer against the additional acid caused by CO2 retention.

77. What is reabsorption?
Reabsorption is the active or passive transport of filtrate substances back into the tubule cell and then into the blood of nearby capillaries.

78. What is the law of electroneutrality?
It states that the total number of positive charges must equal the total number of negative charges in the body fluids.

79. What occurs when any physiological process lowers PaCO2 less than 35 mmHg and raises pH more than 7.45?
Respiratory Alkalosis.

80. What occurs when any physiological process raises PaCO2 more than 45mmHg and lowers pH less than 7.35?
Respiratory Acidosis.

81. What type of breathing pattern is exhibited by patients with severe diabetic ketoacidosis?
Kussmaul’s respiration.

82. What are three renal causes of metabolic alkalosis?
Diuretics, Hyperkalemia, Hypervolemia, Hyperchloremia.

83. What are 3 causes of respiratory acidosis in normal lungs?
Anesthesia, Sedative drugs, Narcotic analgesia.

84. How can hyperventilation and respiratory alkalosis be induced?
The hyperventilation can be caused by overly aggressive mechanical ventilation as well as deep breathing and lung expansion procedures.

85. What is partly compensated respiratory alkalosis?
Low PaCO2, low HCO3-, and alkalotic pH not in the normal range.

86. What is fully compensated respiratory acidosis?
High PaCO2, high HCO3-, pH on the acidic side of normal pH.

87. What is the blood buffer base?
The blood buffer base is the sum of bicarbonate and non-bicarbonate bases in the mmol/L of blood.

88. What is the difference between an open buffer system and a closed buffer system?
In an open buffer system, some of the solutes are removed from the body, while in a closed system, they are kept and used within the system of reactions.

89. What are the differences between excretion and secretion?
Excretion is the elimination of substances from the body in the urine. Secretion is the process by which renal tubule cells actively transport substances into the filtrate.

90. What are the two primary acid-excreting organs?
Lungs and kidneys.

91. How does the Henderson-Hasselbach equation determine [H+]?
The H-H equation determines hydrogen ion concentration by computing the ratio between undisassociated acid molecules [H2CO3] and base ions [HCO3-].

92. What are the normal arterial PCO2 and arterial bicarbonate concentration values?
PaCO2 = 40 mmHg and HCO3- = 24 mEq/L

93. How is base excess determined?
It is determined by equilibrating a blood sample in the laboratory to a PCO2 of 40 mmHg at standard body temperature Celsius and recording the amount of acid or base needed to titrate 1L of blood to a pH of 7.40.

94. What is a combined acid-base disturbance?
A disturbance where they are both respiratory and metabolically related.

95. What corrective measures are used in correcting hypokalemia?
Potassium chloride (KCl), dilute hydrochloric acid (HCl), or ammonium chloride (NH3Cl) may be infused directly into a large central vein.

96. What is an Antidiuretic hormone (ADH)?
Also known as vasopressin, it is the hormone that regulates water secretion.

97. What is the most prominent anion in the body?

98. What is the major circulating cation within the body?

99. Acid-base balance depends on what?
The concentration and activity of electrolytic solutes in the body.

100. Ammonia and carbonates are examples of what?
Onhydroxide base.

Final Thoughts

And that wraps up our study guide on Solutions, Body Fluids, and Electrolytes. Thank you so much for reading all the way to the end. Your hard work and dedication is going to pay off in a big way when it comes to taking (and passing) your exam.

Just be sure to go through these practice questions until the information sticks. Thanks again for reading and as always, breathe easy my friend. 


The following are the sources that were used while doing research for this article:

  • Faarc, Kacmarek Robert PhD Rrt, et al. Egan’s Fundamentals of Respiratory Care. 12th ed., Mosby, 2020. [Link]
  • Faarc, Heuer Al PhD Mba Rrt Rpft. Wilkins’ Clinical Assessment in Respiratory Care. 8th ed., Mosby, 2017. [Link]
  • “Pulmonary Function Tests.” National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, May 2011,
  • “Understanding Patient Information Needs about Their Clinical Laboratory Results: A Study of Social Q&A Site.” National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 21 Aug. 2019,

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