What can happen if your potassium level is too low. Every mineral from food plays an important role in survival. One of them is potassium or potassium, a macromineral that is needed in large quantities. Lack of potassium can cause medical symptoms and be harmful to the body.
Potassium deficiency disease, or hypokalemia, can occur when the body suddenly loses a lot of fluids. Causes of this fluid imbalance can include diarrhea, excessive sweating, vomiting, and bleeding.
8 Potassium deficiency symptoms to watch out for
What can happen if your potassium level is too low?
1. Feeling tired and weak
When the body is deficient in potassium, muscle contractions will become weak. This can cause you to feel weak. Even low potassium levels prevent your body from using nutrients, which can also lead to fatigue.
Feeling tired and weak is one of the main symptoms when the body is experiencing hypokalemia.
2. Muscle cramps
Potassium functions in the mechanism of muscle contraction. This mineral conveys a signal from the brain that stimulates contractions, and in turn, also ends them.
When the potassium level in the body is low, the brain cannot transmit signals effectively. This condition causes prolonged contractions, such as muscle cramps.
3. Heart rate problems
Potassium helps regulate heart rate, so a body deficient in this mineral is at risk of having problems with heart rate or palpitations. Sufferers will feel a faster heartbeat.
Heart palpitations can also be a symptom of arrhythmia or an irregular heartbeat. Arrhythmias can also be triggered by potassium deficiency. However, unlike heart palpitations, arrhythmias are associated with more serious heart problems.
4. Problems with digestion
Potassium also helps convey signals from the brain to the muscles in the digestive tract. These signals will stimulate the digestive system to “stir” and encourage food so it can be digested. When experiencing hypokalemia, the transmission of these signals is inhibited and causes problems in the digestive tract.
5. Difficulty breathing
When the body is deficient in potassium, it becomes difficult for the lungs to expand and contract. This condition causes shortness of breath and it becomes difficult for you to breathe.
Heart rate problems due to low potassium levels also block blood flow. Because blood is responsible for carrying oxygen, even obstructed blood flow makes it difficult for you to breathe.
In fatal conditions, a lack of potassium causes the lungs to stop working.
6. High blood pressure
Potassium plays a role in relaxing blood vessels so that sufficient levels can lower blood pressure. Potassium also helps balance salt (sodium) levels in the body. Excessively high sodium levels are one of the main causes of hypertension or high blood pressure.
7. Muscle pain and stiffness
Lack of potassium causes blood vessels to contract and block blood flow, including in muscles. Due to obstructed blood flow, oxygen supply to the muscles is also impaired. This condition triggers muscle pain and stiffness.
Not only muscle pain and stiffness, but potassium deficiency also causes muscle paralysis.
8. Mood changes
Not only a medical condition, but potassium deficiency also affects psychological conditions. This occurs when low potassium levels block the signals needed to maintain brain function.
Research on the link between potassium and mood is still needed.
How to deal with potassium deficiency
You can overcome a potassium deficiency by taking supplements. Apart from daily supplements, you can also fill potassium through the IV injection method. This is necessary if:
- If your potassium level is very low
- If taking supplements doesn’t increase your potassium levels
- low potassium levels cause abnormal heart rhythm
When your hypokalemia is caused by another medical condition, your doctor will help you take more serious medications.
When to see a doctor for potassium deficiency?
What can happen if your potassium level is too low. People who suspect that they may be deficient in potassium are advising to see a doctor. Some of the key symptoms for you to see your doctor immediately are muscle paralysis, difficulty breathing, or an unusual heartbeat.
To make a diagnosis, the doctor will do a blood check. The doctor will also ask about your medical history or the type of medication to help identify the cause of your potassium deficiency.
Foods that are a source of potassium
The best way to get potassium or potassium intake is to eat healthy foods. Some of the best sources for potassium include:
- Sweet Potatoes
- Cooked scallops
- Pinto beans
Should you take potassium supplements to prevent deficiency?
Over-the-counter potassium supplements not recommend for consumption. Because excess potassium or hyperkalemia can also backfire and be fatal to the body.
One of the symptoms of hyperkalemia is cardiac arrhythmia which can cause serious problems with these organs.
You can take potassium supplements if your doctor thinks it’s necessary. In addition, getting enough potassium from healthy foods is the best step, to avoid the effects of potassium deficiency above.