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[Hypokalemia] Low Potassium Symptoms, Causes, Treatment

Low Potassium Symptoms – The current revolution in health and fitness has told the general public a lot about their diet. 10 to 15 years ago, most people who took good care of their health and fitness were focusing on protein, fats, and carbs only. The problem was there were not enough sources available to let everyone know that there is much more than these macronutrients.

Nowadays, anyone can learn about their diet in depth from the Internet. That is why a huge number of people are now focusing on micronutrients, including essential minerals for the body.

The human body requires essential minerals to keep functioning normally. Starting from keeping your bone density to all the way the brain works, everything is influenced by the levels of these essential minerals in the body.

Today, we are here to talk about potassium. It is also among the important minerals in the body. We will talk about everything regarding this essential mineral, including low potassium symptoms, sources to acquire, and uses. 

Low Potassium Symptoms (Hypokalemia)

Let’s start with the main query of the day, which is these symptoms of low potassium or hypokalemia. People whose potassium levels are slightly low or they are slightly hypokalemic, won’t feel any of the below-given symptoms.

People who have already developed mild hypokalemia will start experiencing it, and it will increase over time. At the same time, it is also heavily going to be influenced by your potassium levels.

For example, if you have not consumed any potassium-rich food in the last 2-3 weeks, it doesn’t mean that you will start experiencing below given symptoms. People with temporary situations are not going to experience anything. 

Health experts around the world suggest everyone consult with their health care provider as early as possible if they start experiencing one or more below given symptoms.

  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle cramps
  • Tweeting
  • Abnormal heart rhythm
  • Constipation

Another thing you should keep in mind is that it doesn’t mean you are struggling with low potassium levels if you are experiencing general weakness or fatigue. 

People who are not used to heavy exercises might experience general fatigue and weakness whenever they perform any heavy exercises. Those who are experiencing weakness and fatigue along with Constipation for a longer period of time are advised to consult their doctor for hypokalemia.

One more thing you should note is that hypokalemia is known to affect kidneys. If you are going for urine more often, along with you feeling more thirsty, then you should consult with your healthcare provider.

Under any circumstances, you should not ignore symptoms like muscle cramps or twitching, as they can lead to muscle weakness and paralysis.

Low Potassium Symptoms
Low Potassium Symptoms

Causes of Low Potassium or Hypokalemia

Once you have learned about the symptoms of low potassium or hypokalemia, it is time for you to understand all the causes the same.

It is easier to prevent a disease than diagnose and the treatment. In case you are making any below-given mistake, or you are struggling with the same, then you should consult with your dietitian. Having low levels of potassium can cause death.

  • People who vomit a lot can have lower levels of potassium channel development.
  • Low levels of potassium or hypokalemia can also happen if you are struggling with diarrhea or your kidneys are not working well.
  • Too much urine caused by a side effect of the medicine can also lower the levels of potassium.

Hypokalemia Or really low levels of potassium are not caused by having too little potassium in your diet. Usually, it is caused by things not directly in the hand of the person affected by the disease. Some other things might also cause hypokalemia.

  • Having too many alcoholic beverages can also cause low levels of potassium.
  • People who sweat a lot can also experience hypokalemia.
  • High levels of ketones in your body are also known to lower the levels of potassium.
  • Health experts believe that certain antibiotics can also cause hypokalemia.
  • Different types of baffles can also be the reason for low potassium.
  • Some asthma medications, along with low magnesium in the body, can also cause hypokalemia or low potassium levels.

There could be thousands of different causes of low potassium levels or hypokalemia. If you are experiencing any of the above-given symptoms without any of these causes, then you should consult with your health care provider as there could be some other cause of the condition.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention believe hypokalemia or low potassium levels is not a regular or common condition. Usually, it is caused by external elements rather than a diet.

Diagnosis of Low Potassium or hypokalemia

Before we move to treatment options over the list of potassium-rich food items, let’s take a look at the diagnosis process of hypokalemia.

Blood test

Usually, doctors ask a person who has been struggling with low potassium levels to get themselves tested with a blood test. Apart from that, your doctor might also ask you for your medical history. It will help your doctor to figure out any external element causing the condition.

People who experience any disease which might have symptoms including vomit and diarrhea are more vulnerable to getting low potassium levels or hypoglycemia. 

Urine test

Apart from that, your health expert might also ask you to take a urine test so your doctor can find out if you are losing your potassium when you go for a urine test. Yes, there is a probability that you can lose your potassium through urine.

EKG

As you might already be aware, low potassium levels can also affect your blood pressure levels. That is why your doctor might suggest you go for an electrocardiogram, also known as EKG. Arrhythmia is a serious condition, and you should never ignore any symptoms associated with the condition. 

Treatment of Low Potassium Levels or Hyperkalemia

Before we wrap up this session, let’s take a quick look at all the treatment options for hypokalemia or low potassium levels. People who are struggling with hypokalemia might hear suggestions from their doctor to take up potassium supplements.

Supplements containing potassium are usually taken by mouth, but in some cases, your doctor might inject it by Iv. Usually, it is recommended for the conditions given below.

  • If you are experiencing extremely low and dangerously low levels of potassium.
  • People who are already taking potassium supplements and are not raising the potassium levels in the body.
  • Lastly, your doctor might inject potassium if your potassium levels are causing abnormal heart rhythm.

In case you are taking any other medication that might be causing low levels of potassium in your body, then your doctor will suggest you stop consuming that medicine or take any alternative. 

Apart from that, never self-diagnose yourself for hypokalemia or a person with low potassium levels. Most above given symptoms of low potassium levels in the body are also associated with several other diseases, including some general ones.  

If you are experiencing one or all of the above-given symptoms, then you should consult with your health care provider rather than looking for any treatment and starting a supplement without consulting.

You might not be surprised to know that there is a condition called too much potassium, also known as hyperkalemia. Too many potassium levels in your body might also cause irreversible damage. Before you start any supplement, consult with your dietitian or health care provider.

Potassium Rich Food items

Your diet is full of potassium, and you might not even know about that. Healthy adults require around 4700 MG of potassium per day. 

Several health organizations around the world suggest a person consumes around 2600 and 3400 MG of potassium every day for women and men, respectively. 

Most people around the world can easily achieve their daily potassium intake with simple food. If you are struggling to achieve an adequate daily intake of potassium, then you should take a look at below given food items.

In case you do not eat these food items, then try to include them in your diet as much as possible.

  • Dried apricots contain 1100 MG of potassium in each half-cup serving or 190 grams.
  • Cooked lentils contain 731 MG of potassium in One Cup of serving or 198 grams.
  • Cooked potatoes contain 610 MG of potassium in One Cup of serving or 167 grams.
  • Canned kidney beans contain 607 MG of potassium in One Cup of serving or 260 grams.
  • Orange juice contains 496 MG of potassium in One Cup of serving or 236 ml.
  • A medium banana weighing around 115 grams Banana contains 422 MG of potassium.

Who is more vulnerable to getting hypokalemia or low potassium levels?

Health experts around the world, along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, believe women are more vulnerable to get hypokalemia or low potassium levels as compared to men. Women should be more careful when they experience any of the above-given symptoms of hypokalemia or low potassium levels.

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