Low potassium (hypokalemia) refers to a lower than normal potassium level in your bloodstream. Potassium helps carry electrical signals to cells in your body. It is critical to the proper functioning of nerve and muscles cells, particularly heart muscle cells. Normally, your blood potassium level is 3.6 to 5.2 millimoles per liter (mmol/L).
What Does Low Potassium Mean? by Sirah Dubois . Potassium is an essential mineral that your body uses mainly as an electrolyte, which is an element that becomes electrically charged in fluid. Positively-charged potassium interacts with other electrolytes, such as sodium and chloride, to allow for the movement of water in and out of cells as ...
Symtpoms of low potassium (hypokalemia) include vomiting, nausea, constipation, low blood pressure and more. Learn about low potassium levels, foods, diet, what causes low potassium, signs of low potassium, and side effects. Learn how a blood test or ECG can detect hypokalemia.
Either high or low potassium levels can cause heart problems. Low potassium can cause muscle cramps. You often have a blood test with your yearly physical that checks for your potassium levels. If ...
These symptoms may indicate rapid muscle breakdown, also known as rhabdomyolysis. ... Also, low blood potassium can make you short of breath, as it can cause the heart to beat abnormally.
Potassium is an important electrolyte and the third most abundant mineral in the body. Potassium is the main compound that interacts with sodium to perform a number of important functions every single day, especially balancing fluids and mineral levels within the body. It’s why having low potassium levels can be so dangerous.
Hypokalemia (Low Level of Potassium in the Blood) - Learn about the causes, symptoms, diagnosis & treatment from the Merck Manuals - Medical Consumer Version. ... Because low potassium levels can cause abnormal heart rhythms, doctors usually do electrocardiography (ECG) to check for abnormal heart rhythms.
2. Fatigue “Every cell in your body needs the right amount of potassium to function,” says Women’s Health magazine, therefore “a sustained dip can result in generalized fatigue.” But there are a wide variety of factors that can cause feelings of fatigue, which can make it hard to identify the symptom as being due to low potassium levels.
Commonly, the medical staff will run a panel of all electrolytes as well as test kidney and liver function. Elevated serum potassium does not necessarily mean that the kidneys are malfunctioning or that there is an underlying disease process at work. In some cases, an elevated blood potassium level can appear falsely elevated.
What Causes Low Potassium or potassium deficiency is a combination of factors. The main causes of low potassium are actually pretty simple- and fairly obvious - but there is one surprising fact about what causes low potassium that I'll bet that you didn't know about.