Low Potassium Symptoms and Treatment Methods

What is Low Potassium? What Are the Symptoms of Low Potassium? How Is Low Potassium Treated? You can find answers to questions such as:
Low Potassium Symptoms and Treatment Methods


What is Low Potassium? What Are the Symptoms of Low Potassium? How Is Low Potassium Treated? Symptoms of Hypokalemia ? You can find answers to questions such as:

What is low potassium (hypokalemia)? 20 symptoms of potassium deficiency, causes and treatment

Low potassium, also known as hypokalemia, occurs when there is not enough potassium in the blood. This can occur due to malnutrition, diarrhea or vomiting. Potassium deficiency is manifested by symptoms such as high blood pressure, constipation, muscle weakness and fatigue.

In severe potassium deficiency, complications such as respiratory failure, stroke and heart failure may occur.

Potassium is an essential mineral that plays many roles in our body. Even small changes in potassium levels can negatively affect our bodily functions. A normal potassium level is 3.5 to 5.0 mmol/liter. Potassium deficiency occurs when the potassium level in the blood is less than 3.6 mmol/liter.


  • Weakness
  • Constipation
  • Muscle cramps
  • Weakness, fatigue, cramps in muscles and legs that can result in inability to move fully
  • Bloating, constipation, abdominal cramps
  • Excessive urination and frequent urge to drink water
  • Tingling or numbness in the body
  • Nausea vomiting
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart palpitations
  • Kidney problems
  • Leg pain
  • Extremely low blood pressure, which can cause fainting
  • Depression, delusions or hallucinations
Low Potassium Symptoms and Treatment Methods


There are many causes of low potassium levels, but it is usually caused by vomiting, diarrhea, adrenal gland disorders or the use of diuretics. Other causes of low potassium are as follows:

  • Chronic diarrhea (including laxative use
  • Frequent vomiting

  • Excessive sweating
  • Alcohol use habit
  • Osmotic diuresis (increased urination due to certain substances in the fluid filtered by the kidneys)
  • Thyrotoxicosis (excessive secretion of thyroid hormone in the body)
  • Other nutritional deficiencies, such as malnutrition, magnesium or folic acid deficiency
  • Adrenal disorders such as Cushing's disease
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Rare disorders such as Liddle syndrome, Bartter syndrome, Gitelman syndrome
  • Leukemia
  • inflammatory bowel disease
  • Pica disease
  • As a side effect of some drugs such as diuretics, laxatives, antibiotics, insulin
Low Potassium Symptoms and Treatment Methods


Low potassium therapy aims to increase potassium levels and address underlying causes. In mild cases, low potassium can be treated with oral potassium pills prescribed by your doctor. These may be in the form of potassium chloride, potassium phosphate or potassium carbonate.

In severe cases, you may need to receive intravenous (IV) potassium in the hospital. This treatment raises levels much faster than oral potassium supplementation.

Eating more potassium-rich foods can also help treat and prevent low potassium levels. Bananas, spinach, nuts, kiwi, oranges, yogurt and salmon are foods rich in potassium.


Although a mildly low potassium level is not dangerous and can be easily treated with oral potassium supplementation, extremely low potassium levels can cause serious complications. In severe cases of low potassium, life-threatening heart failure, stroke, and respiratory failure can occur.

If you have a heart condition such as cardiac ischemia, heart failure, or left ventricular hypertrophy, low potassium levels are more likely to cause more heart problems.

Hypokalemia can cause other health problems, including:

  • High blood pressure
  • Kidney stone
  • Decreased bone mineral density
  • Glucose intolerance with increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes
  • Calcium excretion in the urine


Recommended daily potassium intake, according to the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM):

Healthy adults: 3,400 mg per day for men, 2,600 mg for women (19 years and older)

Teenagers 14 to 18 years: 3,000 mg men, 2,300 mg women

Children 9-13 years: 2,500 mg men, 2,300 mg women

Children 4-8 years: 2,300 mg men, 2,300 mg women

Children 1 to 3 years old: 2,000 mg for both men and women

Babies 7 to 12 months old: 860 mg for both male and female

Birth to 6 months: 400 mg for both men and women

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