Potassium is a nutrient that is required for life. Its major function is to help maintain appropriate fluid levels inside our cells, but it also helps with muscular contraction, blood pressure regulation, protein synthesis, and carbohydrate metabolism. Potassium levels can drop for a variety of causes, but if they fall too low, it can create major health problems. Now the question is, how can you know what your body’s potassium levels are? To do so, you must first learn the language of your body, which is comprised of indications and symptoms.
In today’s article, we’ll go through the top eleven potassium insufficiency symptoms that are frequently overlooked.
If you’ve been feeling down lately, it could be due to a lack of potassium. According to a study published in the journal Physiological Reports, consuming high-sodium, low-potassium diets causes sadness, anxiety, and mood swings. Because potassium is responsible for sending information from the brain to other areas of the body, low blood potassium levels disrupt the signals that keep the brain functioning properly, resulting in confusion and depression. So, the next time you’re feeling low, try eating a banana or another potassium-rich item, and you could be surprised by the consequences.
Fatigue, weakness, and tiredness with no apparent cause
Fatigue and tiredness can be caused by a variety of factors, such as a busy week or a lack of sleep, but if everything is going well and you are still weary all of the time, it’s time to check your potassium levels. Potassium deficiency can have a substantial impact on a variety of biological systems. And it can cause low energy levels as well as physical and mental exhaustion. In addition to muscle contraction, hypokalemia can impair how your body uses nutrients, which can lead to weariness. Potassium shortage, for example, may decrease insulin synthesis. According to studies, this can result in high blood sugar levels and less accessible glucose, which serves as energy for your cells. A simple blood test can be used to evaluate a person’s potassium levels, which can be used to diagnose hypokalemia. Additional electrolytes testing, such as phosphorus, calcium, and magnesium levels, may be performed if necessary. Urine testing, on the other hand, may be used to detect how much potassium is being excreted from the body.
Maintaining a proper electrolyte balance is critical for maintaining normal blood pressure. Although it is well known that too much sodium in the body can raise blood pressure, few people are aware that too little potassium can have the same effect. Potassium aids the filtration process in your kidneys, allowing you to eliminate excess sodium through urine. The kidneys reabsorb sodium back into the bloodstream if there is a shortage of potassium in the bloodstream. It has the potential to cause high blood pressure in the long run. Potassium also relaxes blood arteries, which become constricted if there is a deficit, leading blood pressure to rise. Don’t forget to include potassium-rich foods in your diet if you have high blood pressure. Potassium-rich foods include spinach, bananas, avocado, beans, lentils, and potatoes. To maintain optimal potassium levels, try incorporating them into your everyday diet.
Because the passage of potassium in and out of heart cells serves to control your heartbeat, potassium is essential for maintaining healthy cardiac contractions. Low potassium levels can trigger arrhythmia, which can lead to a cardiac emergency, especially in people who already have heart problems. To examine the heart rhythms, doctors use an electrocardiogram (ECG). If you detect any odd changes in your heart rate, you should seek medical help right once.
Paralysis of Muscles
Acute flaccid paralysis, ranging from minor muscle weakness to severe paralysis due to weak to no muscle contractions, is generally linked with severe hypokalemia. The arms and legs are affected in the early stages, but the involvement of the cardiac or respiratory muscles can lead to life-threatening arrhythmia or respiratory failure. Potassium intakes of 2,600 mg and 3,400 mg for women and men, respectively, are recommended by the National Center for Biotechnology Information. To mention a few, dried apricots, cooked lentils, cooked potato, tinned kidney beans, and orange juice are all good sources of potassium. Additionally, avoid drinking caffeine or smoking after consuming potassium-rich foods, as these substances inhibit potassium absorption in the body.
Polyuria is a condition in which you urinate more frequently than usual. Your kidneys are in charge of balancing fluid and electrolyte levels in your body, as well as removing waste through urine. Low potassium levels cause kidneys to be unable to concentrate urine and appropriately balance electrolyte levels in the blood, resulting in polydipsia (excess urination and thirst). With frequent urination, there would be a vicious cycle of potassium loss. Intravenous (I/V) treatment may be suggested in severe hypokalemic cases under strict supervision due to the danger of rebound excessive potassium, which can be fatal.
The diaphragm, a dome-shaped muscular and membrane structure that helps the lungs inhale and release air, is used mostly for breathing. Your lungs may not be able to expand and contract adequately when blood potassium levels are insufficient and the diaphragm muscle produces weaker contractions, resulting in shortness of breath. It can even be fatal if there is a substantial deficiency of potassium since the lungs may stop working. People with low potassium levels were shown to have a much-increased risk of in-hospital respiratory failure and the requirement for a ventilator, according to a study published in the International Journal of Infectious Diseases.
Weakness of muscles
Potassium shortage most typically affects skeletal muscles, especially those in the arms and legs, resulting in muscle weakness and cramping. Small amounts of potassium are lost through sweating in hot conditions or during vigorous physical activity. Hypokalemia generates weaker muscular contractions, which can lead to intestinal paralysis, low blood pressure, muscle spasms, and mineral shortages (tetany). Before beginning their athletic activity, many athletes eat a banana or two. Bananas are high in potassium, which immediately raises blood levels and prevents leg cramping.
Potassium is required for the transmission of information from the brain to the muscles, resulting in muscular contractions. Low potassium levels in the body can alter the intestinal muscles, causing food to flow through your gut very slowly and causing constipation, bloating, and nausea. Constipation can be caused by a shortage of potassium, but it can also be caused by too much dietary fiber or dehydration. So, before leaping to a decision and purchasing potassium supplements, it’s always a good idea to talk with your doctor first.
Nausea and Vomit
Hypokalemia has a range of unpleasant symptoms that affect the gastrointestinal tract’s function. Frequent nausea and the need to vomit are two of them.
You Have a Strong Craving for and Consumption of Junk Food
Potassium insufficiency can be caused by a poor, imbalanced diet. The majority of processed foods, such as chips, frozen meals, and crackers, are high in salt. Your body will excrete more potassium if you consume too much sodium. To retain more of your dietary potassium, reduce your intake of salt-rich foods. Treatment for potassium shortage is determined by the severity of symptoms and the level of hypokalemia. Yogurt, avocados, sun-dried tomatoes, and sardines are all high in potassium. Aim for 2-4 potassium-rich foods each day, spread out over a 24-hour period.
So keep an eye on these signs to ensure your potassium levels stay within a healthy range. Potassium is a mineral that only a small percentage of individuals get enough of on a daily basis. Potassium shortage, on the other hand, is rarely induced by an unbalanced diet. Hypokalemia can also be caused by fluid loss, starvation, shock, and certain medical diseases. The best method to avoid potassium deficit is to consume enough fruits and vegetables, limit salt intake, and avoid taking any medications without a prescription since they might interfere with potassium absorption in the body and create deficiency. If you’re experiencing any of the above symptoms, talk to your doctor before beginning a potassium-rich diet or supplement.