Potassium deficiency symptoms

Potassium deficiency or hypokalemia can have many causes and the results may be different in different people. Not everyone will react to a potassium deficiency the same way. It is important to understand however that a severe deficiency can cause long term health problems.  Just the slightest lack of potassium in your daily diet can lead to long term deficiency problems. In addition to not getting enough potassium in your diet, certain medications can also cause your body’s potassium levels to be too low. Cortisones as well as certain drugs that control hypertension and diuretics are known to lower potassium levels.

Potassium is very important for the proper functioning of cells in the body, particularly the heart. Potassium and sodium work together to maintain a balance of fluids and acids in the body as well as to control the amount of fluids that are present inside each of the cells in the body. Nutrient transfers through membranes in the cells are also regulated by potassium.

Potassium symptoms may vary from person to person. The aging process tends to lower the levels of potassium in the body and many chronic diseases can also make potassium levels go down. Hypothyroidism is also known as a potential cause of lower levels of potassium. The most commonly reported symptoms of potassium deficiency include fatigue, temporary memory loss or a weakened memory, muscle weakness, vibration in the ears, a deterioration of the heart, hypertension, acne, loss of sleep, irritability, chills, anxiety, headaches, water and salt retention, constipation, low blood pressure and nausea and/or vomiting. Again, different people will exhibit different symptoms to this deficiency and while these are the most commonly reported symptoms, there may be others that you experience if you have a deficiency. If and when you notice anything out of the ordinary you should contact your physician for a complete examination.  Many of the symptoms are similar to those of the flu and other minor illnesses. Your doctor will likely perform a blood test to determine the cause of your symptoms. If you do indeed have a potassium deficiency, it will show up in your blood test and you and your doctor can work together to build up your levels of the mineral in your body.

It is important to see a doctor is you feel that you have a potassium deficiency. While potassium is found in many foods, it may not be possible to get enough from your daily diet and supplements may be needed to raise your potassium levels to normal. Most vegetables including peas, potato skins, broccoli, tomatoes and dark, leafy green vegetables are excellent sources of potassium. Some meats such as beef, fish and chicken also provide healthy amounts of this mineral. Bananas, apricots and citrus fruits provide high levels of potassium as well. Supplements are found in many different forms so if you have a potassium deficiency, be certain to ask your doctor which supplement form is best for you.

Should you notice any of the listed potassium deficiency symptoms, it is important to schedule an appointment with your doctor right away. Left untreated, potassium deficiency can cause severe health problems. Understanding the symptoms can help you to prevent a deficiency. Ensuring that you get the recommended daily amount of potassium in your diet can also help you to prevent any long term conditions. Be certain that you include foods in your daily diet that contain healthy levels of potassium or check with your doctor about a potassium supplement. In order to prevent the health risks that develop due to potassium deficiency it is crucial that you check your daily diet and ensure that you are getting the right amount of the mineral every day.

Last updated on Sep 22nd, 2011 and filed under Nutritional Information. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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