Low Potassium: Hypokalemia Symptoms, Causes, & Treatment

Low Potassium: Hypokalemia Symptoms

Preventing Potassium Deficiency

Potassium is a micronutrient mineral which is essential for the body in right amounts to help all the tissues, cells and organs to function properly. It is also known as electrolytes(these are minerals that maintain normal functions of brain and muscles), that means it allows the cells to produce electric discharge, important for the body to perform functions such as heart function, muscle contraction, neurological functions, maintain balance of fluids in the body . Potassium promotes normal growth and muscle building.

Potassium is very essential to your body, as it helps in breaking down the proteins and carbohydrates that is used to build muscles.

Potassium is easily absorbed by the small intestine. Excess potassium is discharged by the sweat or urine.

Sources of potassium

Leafy green vegetables such as lettuce, parsley, spinach, broccoli, peas, tomatoes, potatoes 9 with skin) fruits like orange, banana, apple, avocados, raisins, apricots (dried), whole grains, fish, meat, all the herbs and nuts are rich source of potassium.

Signs of low potassium levels-

Too low levels of potassium can make you very weak. This condition is called hypokalemia.

  • constipation
  • irregular heartbeats
  • abdominal bloating
  • numbness
  • nausea or vomiting
  • cramps in leg muscles
  • weak arms and legs
  • low blood pressure
  • frequent urination
  • eating disorders like bulimia
  • heart attacks

Signs of high potassium levels-

Too high potassium in the blood is bad for your health. This condition is called hyperkalemia. Kidneys are the organs responsible for maintaining the normal potassium levels by eliminating excess potassium out of the body. But when this does not happen you have the following symptoms:

  • Tiredness
  • tingling or numbness
  • nausea
  • difficulty in breathing
  • palpitations
  • chest pain

If the potassium levels are too high, it can cause paralysis or heart to stop.

Causes of potassium deficiency

The following causes can lead to hypokalemia

  • Low potassium levels or hypokalemia in the blood are due to thyroid gland disorders, or vomiting, diarrhoea or use of some medicines.
  • Due to presence of low levels of magnesium
  • Consumption of excessive alcohol also leads to potassium deficiency
  • Kidney disease can cause potassium deficiency, as kidneys are responsible to balance potassium levels.
  • Use of diuretics, laxative abuse can lead to deficiency.
  • medicines ( used for asthma) , steroids, emphysema is one of the reasons to cause potassium deficiency
  • Taking insulin
  • Elimination of excess urine also causes low potassium levels.
  • Eating disorders like anorexia, nervosa, bulimia, is also the reason for low potassium levels.
  • Diet low is potassium is one of the cause for the deficiency.
  • Poor absorption of potassium by the body.
Treating hypokalemia (potassium deficiency)
  • Treating diarrhoea or vomiting
  • Discontinue medicines responsible for lowering potassium levels.
  • treating kidney disease by consulting specialist to evaluate potassium loses
  • Taking foods rich is potassium is the consultation with the diet specialist.

Identifying the deficiency and by taking proper treatment. You can prevent hypokalemia. It is quiet easy to get potassium through healthy diet.