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 Hypokalemia Symptoms

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Date d'inscription : 04/08/2011

MessageSujet: Hypokalemia Symptoms   Mer 24 Aoû - 19:11

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Potassium is the major positive ion or cation found in a human body. It is essential for normal functioning of body cells. Approximately, 95% of the body potassium is found inside the cells. The rest being found in the blood. Normal blood potassium level is between 3.5 - 5.0 milimoles/litre. An abnormal fall in the level of potassium in the human body can lead to disorders in nervous, circulatory, respiratory and excretory systems. Hypokalemia is the medical term used to describe the condition of low concentration of potassium in the blood. Let's learn about the various hypokalemia symptoms along with its causes and treatments.

Causes of Hypokalemia in Humans

* Insufficient consumption of potassium is one of the major hypokalemia causes.
* Excessive loss of fluid through vomiting, perspiration and diarrhea that flushes out potassium from the body.
* Various laxatives and thiazide diuretics, such as furosemide and hydrochlorothiazide, increase the chances of hypokalemia occurrence.
* Medicines with antifungal properties help in causing hypokalemia.
* A disease called diabetic ketoacidosis involves polyuria and volume contraction, which in turn involves loss of potassium from the kidney tubules, as potassium is present in the body as cations, and therefore it easily binds with the negatively charged ketones. Thus, hypokalemia is generally found to occur with diabetic ketoacidosis.
* Magnesium is an important constituent for the adequate processing of potassium. Low level of magnesium in the body or hypomagnesemia can lead to hypokalemia.
* Genetic disorders, such as Bartter syndrome or Gitelman syndrome, involves defective renal salt disorder. These diseases often lead to hypokalemia by following a manner similar to diuretics.
* Alkalosis or low hydrogen ion concentration of the blood or other tissues can cause a shift of potassium from the plasma and interstitial fluids into cells. It may be mediated by stimulation of sodium-hydrogen cation exchange and an accompanying activation of sodium and potassium cations – ATPase activity. In this manner, alkalosis eventually leads to hypokalemia.

The symptoms of hypokalemia in humans are many and often makes the diagnosis of hypokalemia difficult. There appears a possibility of various kinds of diseases with the given hypokalemia symptoms. It is always better to consult a doctor for proper diagnosis.

Mild Hypokalemia Symptoms

Mild hypokalemia in humans is usually asymptomatic. This makes the diagnosis of hypokalemia difficult at an early stage.

Moderate Hypokalemia Symptoms

* Confusion
* Disorientation
* Weakness
* Decrease in muscle strength
* Discomfort of muscles
* Occurrence of muscle cramps on exercising
* Discomfort in the legs while sitting still
* Uncomfortable positioning of the legs and stomping of the feet on the floor
* Decrease in tendon reflexes
* Hypotension
* Changes in mental status such as lethargy
* Depression
* Psychosis
* Constipation
* Cramps in the abdomen
* Thirst
* Fatigue

Severe Hypokalemia Symptoms

* Potassium deficiency increases hypertension risks
* Ventricular arrythmia, which can even lead to cardiac arrest
* Bradycardia or tachycardia
* Appearance of Cushingoid
* Reduction of intestinal movements, or paralytic ileus
* Respiratory disorders
* Nocturia or polydipsia
* Parasthesias
* Occasional flaccid paralysis
* Extreme weakness. You can read more on effects of hypokalemia

Hypokalemia Treatments in Humans

If you notice the above mentioned hypokalemia signs and symptoms in yourself, consult a physician as soon as possible for proper diagnosis, evaluation and on-time treatments. Usually, potassium supplements are prescribed. If some other disease or hereditary disorder has led to hypokalemia in your case, then causative disease is treated first along with the bringing up of the potassium level to the desired limit. Severe hypokalemia patients may be hospitalized for proper care and may be given potassium through vein. However, you can take some remedial measures to speed up the process of hypokalemia recovery.

* Increase the intake of foods high in potassium. These are sweet potato, potato, tomato, beans, soyabeans, lentils, yogurt, low fat milk, bananas, peaches, prunes, apricots, spinach and fish like tuna, halibut, rock fish. Read more on potassium enriched foods.
* Add a potassium supplement to your daily diet.
* Compensate the loss of potassium after heavy exercising and perspiration by drinking sports drinks as they contain electrolytes.

Adhering to a healthy balanced diet along with consuming foods high in potassium, calcium and magnesium will definitely keep you away from various deficiencies. An approximately needs 4,700 milligrams of potassium in a day. Generally, a balanced diet is sufficient to meet the potassium requirements in human body. This is the most effective precautionary measure for keeping away all the hypokalemia symptoms.
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