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 Potassium Deficiency - Treatment

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RašytiTemos pavadinimas: Potassium Deficiency - Treatment   24/08/11, 05:47 pm

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One of the most important minerals required by our body, potassium plays a crucial role in smooth functioning of various body systems, including contraction and relaxation of the muscles, transferring of messages in the nervous system, etc. With so many crucial life processes dependent on it, it becomes quite necessary to maintain normal potassium levels in the body. Deficiency of potassium in the body can result in a medical condition referred to as hypokalemia (also known as potassium deficiency). Hypokalemia is a life threatening condition, and therefore a person suffering from the same has to be subjected to various measures of potassium deficiency treatment in order to avoid unnecessary complications which can have fatal consequences.

Potassium Deficiency: Hypokalemia

Basically, hypokalemia is a medical condition typically characterized by a fall in potassim levels in blood, below the optimum level required for smooth functioning of various parts of the body. The optimum levels of potassium required by our body are 3.6 to 4.8 milliequivalents per liter (mEq/L). If potassium levels in blood are in the range of 3.0 to 3.6 mEq/L, it is known as mild hypokalemia, and if they are lower than 3.0 mEq/L, it is known as severe hypokalemia. If blood potassium levels fall below 2.5 mEq/L, it can turn out to be life threatening and therefore the patient has to be subjected to proper medical attention at the earliest. The most common symptoms of potassium deficiency include muscle weakness, fatigue, anxiety, confusion, memory loss, etc.

Almost all the causes of hypokalemia can be attributed to loss of potassium through urine or digestive tract as a result of some underlying health problems. Most common potassium deficiency causes include diarrhea, vomiting, or other eating disorders. Overuse of laxatives and diuretics is also known to trigger loss of potassium in the body. More serious conditions such as chronic kidney failure can also result in loss of potassium in the body, and result in potassium deficiency. Even though the instances are quite rare, deficiency of potassium in the body can be caused as a result of lack of high potassium foods in the diet.

Potassium Deficiency Treatment

Hypokalemia treatment involves treatment of the underlying cause of this condition. The doctor will recommend a suitable method of treatment on the basis of the diagnosis performed by him. The options of treatment for potassium deficiency generally range from increased potassium intake to intravenous potassium supplements. If potassium loss in the body is triggered as a result of diarrhea, the treatment of diarrhea can help in the treatment of potassium deficiency to a great extent. If potassium deficiency is triggered by some prescribed medications, the interfering medication will have to be replaced by some other medication.

If the person is suffering from mild hypokalemia, wherein the level of potassium in blood is more than 3.0 mEq/L, the doctor may recommend oral potassium chloride supplements. On the other hand, if the person is suffering from severe hypokalemia, wherein the level of potassium in the blood is less than 3.0 mEq/L, the doctor may recommend intravenous supplementation for a quick recovery. In case of intravenous supplementation though, the condition of the person will be strictly monitored in order to avoid any complications. Other than these methods of treatment, the person with low potassium level in blood is also recommended foods high in potassium such as bananas, oranges, green leafy vegetables, etc.

That was a brief information about potassium deficiency treatment, along with a passing reference to the underlying causes of this condition. While the treatment of hypokalemia is indeed possible, it is better to prevent it in the very first place. Experts recommend that our daily potassium intake should be around 4.7 gram on an average. This can be achieved by including potassium rich foods and vegetables in our daily diet. Even though the measures of treatment mentioned here are quite helpful, one should promptly consult a doctor if any of these hypokalemia symptoms are observed. As we mentioned earlier, the effects of low potassium are serious, and therefore shouldn't be taken lightly.
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