Learn About Low Potassium Level

What is the definition of Low Potassium Level?

Low blood potassium level is a condition in which the amount of potassium in the blood is lower than normal. The medical name of this condition is hypokalemia.

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What are the alternative names for Low Potassium Level?

Potassium - low; Low blood potassium; Hypokalemia

What are the causes of Low Potassium Level?

Potassium is an electrolyte (mineral). It is needed for cells to function properly. You get potassium through food. The kidneys remove excess potassium through the urinary system to keep a proper balance of the mineral in the body.

Common causes of low blood potassium include:

  • Medicines, such as diuretics (water pills), certain antibiotics (amphotericin B, chloroquine at toxic levels)
  • Diarrhea or vomiting
  • Eating disorders (such as bulimia)
  • Hyperaldosteronism
  • Laxative overuse, which can cause diarrhea
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Low magnesium level
  • Sweating
  • Genetic disorders, such as hypokalemic periodic paralysis, Bartter syndrome
What are the symptoms of Low Potassium Level?

A small drop in potassium level often does not cause symptoms, which may be mild, and may include:

  • Constipation
  • Feeling of skipped heart beats or palpitations
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle damage
  • Muscle weakness or spasms
  • Tingling or numbness

A large drop in potassium level may lead to abnormal heart rhythms, especially in people with heart disease. This can cause you to feel lightheaded or faint. A very low potassium level can even cause your heart to stop.

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What are the current treatments for Low Potassium Level?

If your condition is mild, your provider will likely prescribe oral potassium pills. If your condition is severe, you may need to get potassium through a vein (IV).

If you need diuretics, your provider may:

  • Switch you to a form that keeps potassium in the body. This type of diuretic is called potassium-sparing.
  • Prescribe extra potassium for you to take every day.

Eating foods rich in potassium can help treat and prevent low level of potassium. These foods include:

  • Avocados
  • Baked potato
  • Bananas
  • Bran
  • Carrots
  • Cooked lean beef
  • Milk
  • Oranges
  • Peanut butter
  • Peas and beans
  • Salmon
  • Seaweed
  • Spinach
  • Tomatoes
  • Wheat germ
Who are the top Low Potassium Level Local Doctors?
Highly rated in

University Of Padova

Uoc Nefrologia, Dialisi E Trapianto, Dipartimento Di Medicina 
Padova, IT 

Lorenzo Calo is in Padova, Italy. Calo is rated as an Elite expert by MediFind in the treatment of Low Potassium Level. He is also highly rated in 11 other conditions, according to our data. His top areas of expertise are Gitelman Syndrome, Bartter Syndrome, Low Potassium Level, and Magnesium Deficiency.

Highly rated in

Tokyo Medical And Dental University

Tokyo, JP 

Shinichi Uchida is in Tokyo, Japan. Uchida is rated as an Elite expert by MediFind in the treatment of Low Potassium Level. He is also highly rated in 23 other conditions, according to our data. His top areas of expertise are Pseudohypoaldosteronism Type 2, Pseudohypoaldosteronism Type 1, Nephrogenic Diabetes Insipidus, and Low Potassium Level.

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Highly rated in

University Medical Center Rotterdam

Department Of Internal Medicine, Erasmus Medical Center 
Rotterdam, ZH, NL 

Ewout Hoorn is in Rotterdam, Netherlands. Hoorn is rated as an Elite expert by MediFind in the treatment of Low Potassium Level. They are also highly rated in 23 other conditions, according to our data. Their top areas of expertise are Low Sodium Level, Low Potassium Level, Syndrome of Inappropriate Antidiuretic Hormone Secretion, and Bartter Syndrome.

What is the outlook (prognosis) for Low Potassium Level?

Taking potassium supplements can usually correct the problem. In severe cases, without proper treatment, a severe drop in potassium level can lead to serious heart rhythm problems that can be fatal.

What are the possible complications of Low Potassium Level?

In severe cases, life-threatening paralysis may develop, such as with hypokalemic periodic paralysis.

When should I contact a medical professional for Low Potassium Level?

Call your provider right away if you have been vomiting or have had excessive diarrhea, or if you are taking diuretics and have symptoms of hypokalemia.

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What are the latest Low Potassium Level Clinical Trials?
Psilocybin Treatment in Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: a Preliminary Efficacy Study and Exploratory Investigation of Neural Correlates.
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Renoprotective Effects of Potassium Supplementation in Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)
What are the Latest Advances for Low Potassium Level?
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Who are the sources who wrote this article ?

Published Date : May 01, 2021
Published By : David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

What are the references for this article ?

Mount DB. Disorders of potassium balance. In: Yu ASL, Chertow GM, Luyckx VA, Marsden PA, Skorecki K, Taal MW, eds. Brenner and Rector's The Kidney. 11th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 17.

Seifter JL. Potassium disorders. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 26th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 109.