Potassium is one of several minerals essential to human health. It plays a role in maintaining healthy blood pressure, nerve function, heart rhythm, muscles contraction, and bone structure. In addition, adequate amounts of potassium help regulate the amount of sodium found in the bloodstream.
If potassium levels drop below normal ranges, symptoms include weakness, dizziness, confusion, irregular heartbeat, legs and feet, and abdominal pain. Causes of this condition include a poor diet, excessive alcohol consumption, use of some prescription drugs, lack of exercise, and diseases like cancer.
Hypokalemia occurs when there are inadequate K+ ions within the cells due to decreased cellular uptake or increased excretion in the urine.
Well-Known Symptoms and Side Effects Of Potassium Deficiency
Severe potassium deficiency leads to life-threatening conditions called hyperkalemic periodic paralysis and cardiac arrhythmias. Hyperkalemia refers to high concentrations of potassium in the blood, while arrhythmia means abnormal heartbeat rhythms. The following list describes common symptoms of severe potassium deficiency:
Muscle Cramping – Potassium balance affects how much calcium moves into cells where it becomes part of bones. Muscle cramping occurs when there isn’t enough potassium available to move calcium into these cells. This results in less calcium being stored in the skeletal system, which weakens standing upright.
Fatigue – Fatigue is another symptom of potassium deficiency. Without sufficient potassium intake, the brain doesn’t receive the energy needed to perform its functions. As a result, mental alertness decreases, and concentration worsens.
Nausea/Vomiting – Levels of potassium play a major role in regulating fluids within the body. Low potassium levels cause the stomach lining to become irritated and produce more acid than usual. This irritation may trigger vomiting.
Diarrhea – Diarrhea is also linked to potassium deficiency because the intestines need potassium to absorb nutrients from food. A person who has lost significant amounts of weight due to chronic illness will have lower potassium levels in their body.
Constipation – Constipation is another side effect of potassium deficiency. Consuming potassium-rich fruits and vegetables keeps stool soft, so they pass easily through the digestive tract.
Abdominal Pain – Other symptoms of body potassium deficiency usually accompany abdominal pain. These include headaches, chest pains, shortness of breath, and palpitations. The potassium level in the blood can rise to 10 times higher during episodes of acute pancreatitis. Abnormal heart rhythms can lead to sudden death if not treated immediately.
Kidney Disease – A normal kidney function can filter waste products out of the blood. They remove excess salt and potassium along with any toxins present. People suffering from kidney failure cannot properly process these substances. Therefore, they must rely on external sources of potassium to survive.
Top 4 Potassium And Vitamin D Deficiency Symptoms
Potassium disorders associated with potassium and Vitamin D deficiency :
1) Metabolic alkalosis – Optimal potassium levels help regulate pH. If you’re deficient in both vitamin K2 and potassium, your kidneys won’t work well, and you’ll end up with metabolic alkalosis. You might feel dizzy, nauseated, lightheaded, confused, irritable, anxious, depressed, tired, thirsty, hungry, bloated, or experience abdominal discomfort. Your muscles ache, especially those used for walking, standing, sitting, lifting heavy objects, climbing stairs, etc.
2) Myocardial infarction – Intracellular potassium levels affect myocardial contractility. Inadequate intracellular potassium leads to decreased cardiac output and reduced oxygen delivery to tissues. It’s possible to develop MI without having elevated serum potassium levels. However, people who do suffer from high potassium levels tend to recover faster after surgery.
3) Hypokalemia – High extracellular potassium concentrations interfere with nerve conduction. Body potassium content affects how quickly nerves transmit signals between cells. This means that hypokalemia slows down electrical activity throughout the nervous system. Muscle weakness, numbness, tingling, burning sensations, paresthesia, tremors, seizures, paralysis, respiratory distress, arrhythmias can occur when there isn’t enough potassium inside our bodies.
4) Hypertension – Patients with hypertension may be at risk for a condition called hyperkalemic periodic paralysis. HPP occurs when potassium accumulates in skeletal muscles and interferes with normal function. This results in rapid muscle contraction followed by relaxation. As a result, patients become unable to move their limbs. The treatment of hypertension should focus on correcting underlying conditions like obesity, smoking cessation, alcohol abuse, stress management, and regular exercise.
Effects Of Potassium Supplements
Potassium supplements may be used to treat a mild case of hypokalemia. However, it should not replace other treatments or prevent further complications from developing. Treatment includes:
• Increasing your daily potassium intake of fruits and vegetables rich in potassium
• Taking supplemental dietary potassium if you have been diagnosed with chronic renal failure
• Avoiding diuretics and laxatives
• Drinking plenty of fluids
• Eating more whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, fish, and meat
Over-the-counter potassium supplements come in various forms: tablets, capsules, liquids, powders, gels, pastes, creams, lotions, sprays, ointments, suppositories, patches, and injections. Some contain only one form of potassium, while others may combine different types.
There are two main categories of over-the-counter potassium supplements: dietary supplements containing potassium chloride and potassium bicarbonate; and potassium citrate supplements.
Supplementation with potassium citrate has been shown to reduce urinary calcium excretion and increase bone mineral density. The doses of potassium supplements recommended range from 400 mg/day to 800 mg of potassium per day.
Blood Potassium Levels for Blood Glucose Control
The serum glucose level is controlled through insulin secretion by beta cells located within the pancreas. Insulin stimulates liver production of glycogen. Glycogen stores provide energy for use whenever needed. As long as sufficient amounts of carbohydrates remain available, the amount of insulin secreted remains constant.
When blood sugar rises above normal levels, more insulin is produced than required. Excess insulin then triggers the release of stored fat into the bloodstream. Nutrient intakes also influence blood sugar control.
A diet rich in complex carbohydrates, fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, dairy products, fish, poultry, eggs, lean meats, and olive oil lowers blood sugar levels because they supply nutrients necessary for the proper functioning of the brain and other organs. These nutrient sources also lower cholesterol levels and promote weight loss.
Potassium Deficiency And High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure can be a symptom of potassium deficiency. In fact, high blood pressure may cause you to lose more than 2 pounds per week because your kidneys cannot filter out enough sodium from your bloodstream. This condition also increases your risk of heart attack or stroke. If you have hypertension, talk with your doctor about taking supplements containing potassium. You might need to take up to 1 gram daily if you don’t eat much fruit and vegetables.
Diastolic blood pressure and systolic blood pressure refer to the force exerted on arteries when the left ventricle contracts after filling with blood during each heartbeat. Diastolic pressure measures the strength of this contraction. Systolic pressure measures how hard the walls of the artery contract at the beginning of each heartbeat. It’s measured just before the next pulse begins. Both pressures vary throughout the day. They’re usually higher in the morning hours and lowest around midnight.
Blood pressure in adults should fall between 80 mm Hg and 120 mm Hg. A reading below 80 mm Hg indicates hypotension, which means there isn’t enough blood flow to meet the needs of vital tissues. Readings greater than 130 mm Hg indicate hypertension.
Abnormal Bowel Function
Inflammatory bowel diseases affect approximately 3 million Americans. IBDs include Crohn’s Disease and ulcerative colitis. Although these conditions differ slightly, both involve inflammation of the digestive tract. Inflammation occurs when white blood cells called leukocytes enter damaged tissue. Leukocytes help fight infection but sometimes damage healthy tissue.
Abnormal losses of fluids frequently occur in people who suffer from inflammatory bowel disease. The severity of symptoms varies among individuals. Some patients experience mild abdominal pain while others develop severe complications, including malnutrition, intestinal obstruction, and death.
In addition to diarrhea, some people suffering from inflammatory bowel disease report having loose stools without any accompanying discomfort. Others complain of bloody stool. People experiencing chronic diarrhea must drink large quantities of liquids every hour to stay hydrated.
Magnesium plays many important roles in our bodies, including maintaining healthy bones and teeth, regulating nerve impulses, helping regulate heart rhythm, and supporting immune system functions. It can help improve sleep patterns and relieve anxiety.
It’s easy to get enough magnesium in your diet. You’ll find most people do not consume adequate amounts of this essential element. This essential nutrient comes primarily from food sources like leafy green vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds, whole-grain slices of bread, cereals, yogurt, cheese, seafood, and some juices. If you’re concerned about getting enough magnesium, talk to your doctor before taking any supplement.
If you suspect you might be deficient in magnesium, ask your physician to test your blood levels. A simple way to check your magnesium status is to take a urine sample after waking up first thing in the morning.
The dietary potassium intake should exceed 400 milligrams daily. In addition, it is advisable to eat plenty of fruit and vegetables every day for the treatment for potassium deficiency. Also, try to avoid consuming excess sodium or caffeine. Finally, if you have high blood pressure, consult your health care provider regarding appropriate lifestyle changes.
FAQs for Treatment for Potassium Deficiency
How Can I Raise My Potassium Level Quickly?
You can raise your potassium levels quickly by eating more fruits and vegetables. The best sources are bananas, oranges, strawberries, tomatoes, spinach, broccoli, peas, beans, potatoes, carrots, and avocados.
Speak with your healthcare practitioner before you decide to take potassium supplements. Some individuals may have adverse reactions when consuming high dosages of potassium.
How Long Does It Take To Recover From Low Potassium?
Low-potassium diets should only last two weeks at maximum. After that time period, it will become difficult to replenish lost minerals. However, if you continue to eat unhealthily over several months or years, you could develop serious health problems.
Oral potassium supplementation is safe and effective. Speak with your healthcare provider before beginning a new dietary regimen.
How Do You Feel When Your Potassium Is Low?
Heart palpitations and other adverse effects are felt when potassium levels drop below 3 millimoles per liter. Electrolytes play a key role in keeping us alive. They work together to keep fluids moving through the cells, so we don’t die.
Irregular heart rhythms occur when there isn’t sufficient potassium available to conduct electrical signals throughout the heart. These irregular beats cause symptoms similar to those experienced during exercise: shortness of breath, dizziness, fainting, and chest pain.
Potassium also works with calcium ions to control the contraction and relaxation of muscles.
Without enough potassium, these contractions aren’t properly regulated—muscle spasms result in painful cramping.
Potassium is one of three major electrolytes found in human tissue. In addition to its function in cell membranes, potassium acts as a cofactor for enzymes involved in energy production within mitochondria. It also regulates electrical activity throughout the nervous system.