10 Common Symptoms of Hypokalemia That Everyone Should Know About

An average human body contains about 3.5 to 5.0mmol/l of potassium, not a lot of people know this but a deficiency of potassium can cause a severe condition of Hypokalemia. The potassium levels lower than 2.5mmol/l indicate a serious lack of potassium. Hypokalemia can be detected through a simple blood test or an electrocardiogram. Medication side-effects and dialysis are the most primary causes of hypokalemia.

Replacement of potassium is recognized as the most efficient of potassium deficiency, the speed of recovery and complete replacement depends upon the severity of deficiency projected in the electrocardiogram. However, not all kinds of deficiency are need to treated through medically replacing potassium, mild cases can also be cured with little dietary alterations or potassium supplements. Morsels of intravenous potassium which are less than 20mmol should be given at different intervals in about an hour, and the extensive volumes of more than 40mmol should be given a strenuous central line. Potassium replacement also triggers the need for replacing magnesium replacement.

Low potassium deficiency is quite common and it is responsible for almost 20% of total US hospitalized patients. We have prepared a list of the ten most common symptoms of potassium deficiency so that the patients could seek proper treatment immediately.


Symptom 1: Fatigue or lethargy

Even though fatigue is not that uncommon or lethal, however, the constant state of lethargy and tiredness can orchestrate discomforting situations in the personal and professional life of an individual. The patient is not able to function at maximum capacity and the constant feeling of drowsiness trigger a chain reaction of unfulfilled responsibilities and task that result in the total destruction of one’s life. Hypokalemia is directly associated with mental stress, depression, and lethargy.

Symptom 2: Cramps

Muscle cramps are triggered by the sudden movement that damages the muscle reducing the strength and flexibility of the body part. Cramps are extremely painful and they can create grave discomfort for the individual causing free movement impairment. Muscle cramp occurrence is associated with hypokalemia due to muscle fatigue caused by the overtime movement of skeletal muscles.

Symptom 3: Constipation

Constipation refers to bowel discomforts which affect the fluid release of waste material from the body. It is a dreadful ordeal as it can completely debauch the entire functionality of one’s life. Prolonged constipation can lead to grave conditions like hemorrhoids and anal fissure. Constipation and infrequent bowel movements are related to severe potassium deficiency, and it can be treated through exercise, a rich fiber diet, and a healthy drinking habit.

Symptom 4: Abnormal heart rhythm

Heart arrhythmia or unbalanced heart rhythm is defined as a condition when an individual feels infrequent heartbeats that range from being too fast or too slow, the heartbeat rate is greatly unbalanced. The condition is mostly triggered by electrolyte imbalance, hypokalemia, or electrical heat conduction.

Symptom 5: High blood pressure

As the name suggests the condition regards to the highly fluctuating blood pressure rate that poses numerous heart problems that are lethal and even life-threatening. According to experts the level of potassium in the blood can significantly affect the blood pressure rate while high potassium level results in low blood pressure levels and low potassium rate results in high blood pressure rate.

Symptom 6: Weakness in the muscle

A condition that is medically known as myasthenia is a dreadful condition that affects the posture, movement, and overall productivity of the body. Even though muscle weakness can be orchestrated under numerous health conditions, however, hypokalemia is a major disorder that aggressively attacks the muscle strength while causing a significant chain reaction of electrolytes in the muscle cells.

Symptom 7: Muscle pain or myalgia

Muscle pain or myalgia is directly related to muscle weakness and just like muscle weakness, it is also a non-specific symptom that is associated with numerous health conditions except for potassium deficiency. Myalgia is also triggered due to the overuse and overstraining of different muscle groups. The problems can be activated through infections, fatigue syndrome, medication overdose, or fibromyalgia. Hypokalemia actively affects muscle strength and weak potassium levels are the primary reason for the discomforting pain the muscles. Proper rest, a balanced diet, and proper treatment can provide permanent relief from the condition.

Symptom 8: Flaccid paralysis

Flaccid paralysis is triggered due to nerve-damaging injuries and it can be extremely fatal if it damages the respiratory muscles as then it can obstruct the ability of breathing while posing a life-threatening situation that leads to suffocation and even death. Apart from hypokalemia, flaccid paralysis is caused by a number of conditions like lower motor neuron lesions, nerve agents, neurotoxic venoms, botulism, curare, and polio. This is a highly lethal and dangerous condition, any signs of occurrence should be confronted with immediate medical guidance and imperative treatment that primarily focuses on permanent relief rather than instantaneous.

Symptom 9: Hyporeflexia

Described as the complete absence of significant hindrance in the functionality of reflexes, mostly linked with lower motor neuron deficit. The condition discharged a state of disability in the body as the individual is not able to function properly with complete activeness. The condition is caused by spinal cord damage, myopathy, polyneuropathy, Guillain- Baree syndrome, hypothyroidism, or significant electrolyte imbalance actively caused by potassium deficiency.


Symptom 10: Hyperventilation

Hyperventilation is also known as respiratory depression and indicated obstruction of vital gases that are required for the proper functioning of the lungs. Hyperventilation also leads to the excess concentration of carbon dioxide in an individual’s body which consequently results in hypercapnia. Respiratory depression is triggered by numerous causes like drug overdose, mountain sickness, and hypokalemia.

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