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Low potassium: symptoms and treatment

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

Potassium is a mineral present in the blood that has the function of regulating the amount of water in the body along with sodium. It also intervenes in the metabolism of carbohydrates, in muscle function, in the production of proteins and is essential for the growth of the body. The normal levels of potassium in the blood should be between 3.5 and 5.0 mEq / L, below this it is considered that there is a deficit, which is medically known as hypokalemia and can have serious consequences for health. At FastlyHealwe explain the symptoms and treatment of low potassium .

Low potassium symptoms

Potassium is acquired through food and the kidneys are responsible for eliminating the excess, through the urine and thus maintaining a balance in our body of this mineral. The symptoms of low potassium are generally asymptomatic, however when the deficit is significant, the heart is the first affected. Some signs are:

  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Constipation.
  • The urge to urinate frequently or in large quantities.
  • Cramps and even paralysis.
  • Muscular weakness.
  • Low blood pressure
  • Fatigue.

Causes of low potassium

A low level of potassium in the blood is produced either because our body is losing it or because it is not absorbed correctly and this is generally caused by unhealthy diets. The causes of low potassium are associated with the following conditions:

  • Eating disorders such as bulimia
  • Low potassium diet.
  • Consumption of antibiotics.
  • Renal insufficiency.
  • Consume diuretic medications.
  • Diarrhea and vomiting
  • Ingesting excess caffeine.

Treatment for low potassium

To diagnose a low potassium level in the blood, a blood test is necessary and your doctor will decide if another type of test should be performed, such as an EKG or a thyroid hormone test.

The treatment for low potassium consists of administering this mineral to cover the deficiency, everything will depend on the pathology that is producing it. In the event that it is not a serious cause, oral potassium supplementation will be sufficient. If the deficit is severe, the way to receive potassium will be intravenously.

If you have any other disease for which you must take diuretic medications, your doctor may change to ones that preserve potassium or prescribe an additional supplement that you should take every day, until the doctor indicates it. The potassium deficit is corrected with a change in eating habits and the administration of this as a supplement, but if the cause, which produces the drop in potassium levels, is serious and the proper attention is not taken, it can bring serious heart rhythm problems.

Potassium sources

Some of the foods rich in potassium , which you should include in your diet to avoid the deficiency of this mineral and maintain the appropriate values, are:

  • Fish : such as salmon, sardines and cod.
  • Beef.
  • Chicken.
  • Fruits : bananas, oranges, grapefruit, lemon, kiwi, melon, avocado, plums.
  • Vegetables : baked potatoes, broccoli, carrots, spinach and tomato.
  • Broad bean, bean sprouts, bran, wheat germ
  • Peanut butter.
  • Milk and its derivatives.
  • Walnuts.
  • Beans and peas.

When to contact the doctor

  • If, despite treatment, the symptoms do not disappear.
  • You have trouble breathing.
  • Excessive fatigue

This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Low potassium: symptoms and treatment , we recommend that you enter our Kidneys and urinary system category .

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