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 Symptoms of Low Potassium

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RašytiTemos pavadinimas: Symptoms of Low Potassium   24/08/11, 05:46 pm

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The medical term which refers to the dearth of potassium level in the body is 'hypokalemia'. Here, the amount of the nutrient gets lower than normal, and gives rise to bouts of signs and symptoms of low potassium. Potassium is one of the most essential requirements of the body, playing vital roles in the functioning of the nerve and muscle cells. It is one of the important electrolytes that are concentrated within the cells in the body. The serum is the fluid part of the body, and this very fluid contains about 2% of the total potassium in the body. Even minute changes in the serum levels of potassium can cause several undesirable malfunctions in the body.

Around 3.6 to 4.8 milliequivalents per liter (mEq/L) is considered to be the normal measure of potassium in healthy individuals. And 70-100 mEq (270 to 390 mg/dl), is the amount that has to be the daily intake of the same. The same amount is removed by the kidney each day. However, if more than this is removed, then this results in hypokalemia. So when this condition occurs, the measure may dwindle to less than 2.5 mEq/L. The following description would give you a brief outlook at the different symptoms of low potassium in women and men, along with some more important facts about the condition such as the common causes associated with the condition and its available treatment options.

Symptoms of Low Potassium in Humans

Low potassium symptoms are not many in number, and they also seem to mimic those which tend to occur in other medical conditions. So, a professional medical diagnosis is the only way through which the condition of hypokalemia can be detected. The most common signs and symptoms of low potassium which occur in most patients include weakness and fatigue for no apparent reason. Muscle cramps may also accompany these symptoms and so do digestive disorders such as constipation. A condition known as arrhythmias (muscle contractions take place in an abnormal rate) may also be one of the symptoms of low potassium which may come up. Other symptoms may include frequent urination, fainting, abdominal cramps, vomiting and numbness. The condition is also known to trigger the onset of psychological disorders like depression, confusion, hallucinations, etc.

Here I am done with briefing you on the symptoms of low potassium in the body. Let us now move on to some other important facts about this condition, which are its causes and available treatment options.

Causes of Low Potassium Levels

Certain medical conditions are to be blamed for causing the potassium levels in the body to drop down. Conditions which are commonly associated with the symptoms of low potassium are eating disorders, use of water pills, excessive use of laxatives, diarrhea, and constipation. Other causes of low potassium are vomiting, chronic kidney failure (of a chronic form) and a condition known as primary aldosteronism (production of too much aldosterone by the adrenal gland).

Treatment of Low Potassium Levels

Depending upon the severity of the symptoms of the affected individual, the course of the potassium replacement therapy, is decided. The treatment for the condition generally begins post tests which confirms the diagnosis. Patients who have mild symptoms or no symptoms at all, may be treated with potassium given in pill or liquid form. However, to deal with extreme cases, patients may need to undergo treatment using an intravenous administration of potassium.

It is not difficult to keep all such symptoms of low potassium from occurring. A mere change in the diet does it all. For people who stay vulnerable to be hit by episodes of hypokalemia, must inculcate potassium rich foods in their daily diet. Common examples are bananas, tomatoes, oranges, peaches, cantaloupe, oranges, strawberries, greens, mushrooms, peas, beef, fish, turkey, etc. Also, it is recommended to avoid overuse of water pills, as it is also one of the causes of the condition.
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