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What are the Dangers of Potassium Deficiency?

What occurs if you have a Potassium Deficiency?

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Potassium deficiency often happens when a person is suffering from diarrhea and vomiting as well as other several factors such as use of medications and other diseases and genetic issues. Termed as hypokalemia, potassium deficiency should never be ignored and must be taken seriously. There are a lot of symptoms as well as potential health risks that come along with hypokalemia. This is because potassium plays a lot of important roles in the body.

Potassium deficiency is often associated with muscle weakness and cramps. One of the functions of Potassium is to aid in muscular contraction that is why a lack of this electrolyte will cause muscle spasms, twitches, restless leg syndrome, muscle weakness, as well cramps particularly in the calf muscles. If the muscle is deprived of potassium, rhabdomyolysis can occur which causes proteins that are stored in the muscles to be excreted into the bloodstream which in turn can cause severe damage to other organs such as the kidneys. Hypokalemia may be too severe that paralysis can occur.

Aside from muscular problems, a deficiency in this electrolyte can cause dysrhythmia, or abnormal beating of the heart. Oftentimes, dysrhythmia can cause fast heart beats, dizziness with chest pain and eventually can complicate and may lead to cardiac arrest which is life threatening.

The digestive system can also be severely affected if there is a deficiency in Potassium. Food cannot travel effectively in the digestive system which can cause stomach cramps, bloating, and constipation. Aside from problems in the digestive system, lack of potassium can cause irritability and confusion because this electrolyte has a very important role in the transmission of electrical impulses within the body. Abnormality in the transmission of impulses can also cause anxiety and even depression.

The treatment of Potassium deficiency ranges from mild treatment to severe. If the deficiency is only mild, oftentimes the physician would recommend to increase food intake that are rich in potassium such as fish, chicken, beef, bananas, citrus fruits and melons. Food supplements that are rich in potassium are often administered. Severe hypokalemia may need hospitalization so that the physician can administer potassium through intravenous means.

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