Symptoms of Low Potassium Can be Diverse

November 12, 2012

Symptoms of Low Potassium Can be Diverse

There are many symptoms of low potassium. Experiencing cramps and fatigue in the muscles, irregular heartbeat, raised cholesterol levels and an intolerance of glucose may occur. Other conditions which may develop are nausea and vomiting, feeling constipated and extremely dry skin and irritability. Exhaustion, mental turmoil, regular headaches, unquenchable thirst, depression and nervousness are symptoms of low potassium which you may experience. Diarrhea, salt retention, insomnia, feeling chilled, edema and growth damage may be encountered. In very severe cases cardiac arrest may occur.

The mineral potassium is used to transport nutrients via cell membranes but it has been found this process slows down as we age. It allows the heart to beat on a regular basis along with helping the correct contraction of muscles. It is a vital mineral for handling the impulses of the nerves and helps to metabolize energy. This mineral is also useful in keeping blood pressure at a normal level and studies have shown potassium in the diet may assist in prevention of cardiovascular disease, hypertension and strokes.

There are certain people who have to be aware of the effects of low potassium. If you are taking medication or therapy which contains adrenal hormones and corticosteroids be very vigilant regarding symptoms of low potassium levels. Should you be on a high sodium diet which is low in fruit and vegetables, or have a weird diet and having periods where you do not eat, all of these can contribute to low potassium levels. Eating laxatives and licorice often over extended periods of time and also extreme use of carbenoxolone also play their part in reducing potassium within the body. There are particular diuretics which can also contribute to symptoms of low potassium occurring. An unusual amount of sweating excessively over a number of days also lessens potassium levels within the body.

This mineral is classed as an electrolyte and is essential to maintaining the healthy working of cells which obviously includes the cells in the heart muscle. Electrolytes are required to keep the correct balance of acid base and fluids within the body. Potassium manages the amount of fluid inside the cells while sodium maintains the correct balance of fluid outside of the cells therefore treating the symptoms of low potassium is very important.

Concentrations of electrolyte levels can be altered by many diseases in which the electrolytes are lost from the body. If you are experiencing vomiting or diarrhea reduced levels of potassium can occur, therefore if this continues for a long period of time contact your health care practitioner. If you suffer from a heart, kidney or inflammatory bowel disease you may be more susceptible to this disorder. Other diseases which may reduce potassium levels are anemia, diabetes, cystic fibrosis, alcoholism, eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa and malnutrition. Severe burns, Cushing’s disease, flu, ulcerative colitis, chronic respiratory failure and surgical operations in the bowel are all contributory factors in reducing potassium levels.

If you have any anxieties or worries regarding low potassium, it is best to contact your health care professional to discuss these with them.

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