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Chapter: Medical Surgical Nursing: Fluid and Electrolytes: Balance and Distribution

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Significance of Phosphorus

Phosphorus is a critical constituent of all the body’s tissues.

SIGNIFICANCE OF PHOSPHORUS

Phosphorus is a critical constituent of all the body’s tissues. It is essential to the function of muscle and red blood cells, the for-mation of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) and 2,3-diphosphoglycerate, and the maintenance of acid–base balance, as well as to the nervous system and the intermediary metabolism of car-bohydrate, protein, and fat. The normal serum phosphorus level is 2.5 to 4.5 mg/dL (0.8–1.5 mmol/L) and may be as high as 6 mg/dL (1.94 mmol/L) in infants and children. Serum phos-phorus levels are presumably greater in children because of the high rate of skeletal growth. Phosphorus is the primary anion of the ICF. About 85% of phosphorus is located in bones and teeth, 14% in soft tissue, and less than 1% in the ECF. Phosphorus is critical to nerve and muscle function and provides structural sup-port to bones and teeth. Phosphorus levels decrease with age.

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