Symptoms of Low Potassium

Karen Frazier

Hypokalemia

Hypokalemia, or low potassium, can manifest in multiple symptoms ranging from mild to life threatening.

Causes

Many things can cause low potassium including inadequate dietary intake, nausea and diarrhea, and excessive sweating. If you experience any of these, it may be beneficial to eat foods with more potassium.

Muscle Cramps

One of the first signs some people get that they have low levels of potassium are muscle cramps, particularly nighttime leg cramps. The cramps occur because potassium is an electrolyte that controls impulses leading to muscle contraction and relaxation.

Weakness

Muscle exhaustion and weakness may also indicate hypokalemia, particularly if you have been sweating or experiencing vomiting and diarrhea. Muscle weakness may be so severe that you feel as if you cannot move.

Gastrointestinal Symptoms

As your potassium deficiency increases in severity, you may experience vomiting or diarrhea. You may also experience abdominal cramping or bloating.

Palpitations

The heart is a muscle, and potassium plays a role in muscle contraction. If you are extremely low in potassium levels, you may experience heart palpitations.

Excessive Thirst and Urination

If you are drinking and urinating excessively, then your potassium may be low.

Low Blood Pressure

Potassium deficiency can lead to low blood pressure, which may cause fainting and weakness.

Mental Problems

Hypokalemia can also lead to mental issues including confusion, depression, confusion, delirium, and hallucinations.

More Details

Seek Medical Care

If you experience severe symptoms, seek immediate medical attention. If you experience mild symptoms such as leg cramps, try eating more potassium containing foods, such as bananas and potatoes.

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Symptoms of Low Potassium