Low Potassium Causes & Prevention Techniques

Low potassium causes a variety of health problems including diarrhea and hypertension. The clinical name for it is hypokalemia and left untreated for a long time can even be fatal.

What is Hypokalemia?

Low potassium or hypokalemia is a condition in which your body is unsuccessful at maintaining the daily minimum level of Potassium that is necessary for healthy function. It can be from either a deficiency of Potassium or failure to retain the Potassium.

What Is Potassium?

Potassium is a mineral found in the foods we eat and is also found both inside and outside the cells of our bodies. It helps facilitate the function and building of healthy muscles and cells, enhances the cardiovascular system, aids in the conversion of glucose to glycogen and assists in proper nerve transmission. Potassium is a natural diuretic that is easily absorbed into our bodies and then excreted back out through the intestines and kidneys. Because it is alkaline, it is also important in keeping our system’s pH level balanced and in helping with proper water retention.

However, Potassium’s most important role is probably in aiding nutrient transfer and keeping blood pressure at the proper level.

What Causes Hypokalemia?

Low Potassium can be a result of a low Potassium diet–you simply aren’t getting enough dietary sources of Potassium each day, and Potassium is something you need to intake daily. Another possibility is that you’re eating and drinking enough Potassium-rich foods, but your body is failing to absorb or retain it properly.

Some chief causes of Hypokalemia include:

  • medications that inhibit proper bowel or kidney function
  • excessive elimination of Potassium during urination or bowel movements
  • insufficient dietary intake of Potassium
  • medical conditions, like diabetic ketoacidosis, that affect the salt transfer in the liver.

What Are the Possible Signs of Hypokalemia?

Some of the symptoms you may experience if you have low Potassium include:

  • skin conditions like blisters and acne
  • memory loss
  • fatigue
  • muscular weakness
  • heart problems
  • hypertension
  • ringing in the ears
  • depression
  • digestive system problems

How Do You Prevent Hypokalemia?

Hypokalemia is typically treated by treating the symptoms that the patient experiences. That sometimes includes prescription medications. However, the best action is to be proactive in preventing low Potassium levels by making sure you eat a diet rich in Potassium. Some of those Potassium rich foods include:

  • prunes
  • oranges
  • bananas
  • dates
  • raisins
  • meats
  • egg
  • yogurt
  • spinach

If you’re taking prescription medications, it’s important that you consult with your doctor about possible side effects and any adverse effects that medication may have on your ability to absorb and retain Potassium.


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