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What does low potassium mean?

What happens if you have a low potassium level?

A low potassium level has many causes but usually results from vomiting, diarrhea, adrenal gland disorders, or use of diuretics. A low potassium level can make muscles feel weak, cramp, twitch, or even become paralyzed, and abnormal heart rhythms may develop.

Why would my potassium be low?

Low potassium (hypokalemia) has many causes. The most common cause is excessive potassium loss in urine due to prescription medications that increase urination. Also known as water pills or diuretics, these types of medications are often prescribed for people who have high blood pressure or heart disease.

What are the signs of a potassium deficiency?

A small drop in potassium level often does not cause symptoms, which may be mild, and may include:

  • Constipation.
  • Feeling of skipped heart beats or palpitations.
  • Fatigue.
  • Muscle damage.
  • Muscle weakness or spasms.
  • Tingling or numbness.

When should you go to the hospital for low potassium?

If you are having symptoms of low potassium, call your doctor. If you have muscle cramps, weakness, palpitations, or feel faint and you are taking a diuretic (water pill), contact your healthcare professional or go to an urgent care facility or hospital emergency department immediately.

Can drinking too much water cause low potassium?

Drinking too much water can cause side effects that range from mildly irritating to life-threatening — and overhydration can lead to an imbalance of electrolytes in the body. Electrolytes such as potassium, sodium, and magnesium help regulate everything from your kidneys to your heart function.

Can low potassium cause a heart attack?

If potassium levels in the blood get too low, you can develop an abnormal heart rhythm or even have a heart attack or sudden cardiac arrest.

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How many bananas should I eat a day for potassium?

Adults should consume about 3,500mg of potassium per day, according to the UK’s National Health Service. The average banana, weighing 125g, contains 450mg of potassium, meaning a healthy person can consume at least seven-and-half bananas before reaching the recommended level.

Does low potassium cause anxiety?

If you have low levels of potassium, you may experience an increase in your anxiety symptoms. Anxiety is an abnormal feeling of worry, fear, apprehension or nervousness. Anxiety can occur for a number of reasons, and comes in varying degrees of intensity. One common cause of anxiety is poor diet.

Can dehydration cause low potassium?

Severe dehydration from prolonged diarrhea and vomiting can be dangerous. You are losing more than moisture as time goes on if you are fighting chronic diarrhea. Along with the fluids you are losing, your body can lose minerals such as potassium.

Can you check your potassium level at home?

A fast, accurate and low-cost test for blood potassium levels, which can be used at home and has the potential to improve the safety, health and lifestyle of tens of millions of people worldwide, is being developed by Kalium Diagnostics.

Are Bananas high in potassium?

Bananas. Bananas are known to be a good source of potassium. In fact, one banana has 451 mg of potassium ( 43 ). This tasty fruit is also rich in vitamin C, vitamin B6, magnesium, fiber, and antioxidants ( 44 ).

What are the side effects of taking potassium pills?

In some people, potassium can cause stomach upset, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, or intestinal gas. Too much potassium is UNSAFE and can cause feelings of burning or tingling, generalized weakness, paralysis, mental confusion, low blood pressure, irregular heart rhythm, or death.

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Is low potassium an emergency?

Normally, your blood potassium level is 3.6 to 5.2 millimoles per liter (mmol/L). A very low potassium level (less than 2.5 mmol/L ) can be life-threatening and requires urgent medical attention.

Does low potassium require hospitalization?

How is hypokalemia treated? Someone who has hypokalemia and shows symptoms will need hospitalization. They will also require heart monitoring to make sure their heart rhythm is normal.

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