Early Signs Of Low Potassium: Stay Informed For Optimal Health

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Do you feel the numbness in your body from time to time? You might want to check your potassium levels in the body. Studies have concluded that the electrolyte imbalance may be a major cause of tingling sensation or numbness. And this electrolyte imbalance is a major setback when the body is not getting enough potassium in it. 

Medically speaking, your body is suffering from hypokalemia, which can affect your fluid balance, nerve function, and muscles. Failing to balance the potassium levels can be threatening, but the symptoms are very difficult to crack.

In this blog, we are going to understand the early signs of Low Potassium and give some tips to increase your electrolyte levels. We will also dive deep into healthy foods that are rich in potassium. So, if you are someone who is having digestive problems, or knows someone who is then this blog is for you.

Symptoms Of Low Potassium Or Hypokalemia

Potassium or Kalium is an essential nutrient that is responsible for many functions in your body. From maintaining the fluid balance to the transmission of nerve impulses, potassium plays a major role in it. Here are the symptoms of low potassium in your body that you might want to check from time to time.

Symptoms Of Low Potassium

1. Weakness Or Feelings Of Fatigue

Do you get bouts of weakness or fatigue randomly? Where your muscles just hurt out of the blue and you wish you could skip anything? These are the first signs of low potassium in your body. 

Potassium helps in contracting your muscles and produces insulin, so when you are feeling fatigued or have muscle pain, it is due to the potassium deficiency. Your muscles are not able to contract as usual and there is an underlying condition where there is a lack of glucose for you to be energetic. 

2. Bloating And Digestive Issues

Nowadays, not only the food but also the muscles that churn food are weak for digestion, Potassium is responsible for relaying the message from the brain to propel the food we intake, and when this function is skipped, there is slow contraction of muscles which results in slow movement of food. This slow movement often causes bloating or constipation which can disrupt the bowel movements

Eating a sufficient amount of potassium will help in the proper digestion of food and smooth passing out function. Although, constipation is a severe symptom that can be experienced when you are suffering from hypokalemia.

3. Tingling Sensations Over the Body

There are instances when your body or part of your feels tingles when there is a lack of movement for a longer period. But experiencing these tingling sensations occurs without a proper explanation, then it is worrisome.

Studies have shown that as potassium is a messenger from the brain, its lack of it can affect nerve function. If you get persistent tingling or numbness in your hands, feet, legs, or fingers then you should have it checked out.

4. Feelings Of Frequent Urination

Drinking sufficient water is necessary for the body, but going to the washroom every ten minutes can result in electrolyte imbalance. Potassium is a mineral that helps your kidneys to concentrate urine and balance the fluids in your body. Potassium deficiency can result in increased thirst with increased urination where your body throws out waste in the form of urine. It can also lead to damage in your kidneys, which requires medical help.

5. High Blood Pressure

With a spike in blood sugar levels, hypokalemia can also spike up the blood pressure in your body. As potassium helps your kidneys to absorb excess sodium and pass it in the form of urine, with low levels of potassium your body reabsorbs the existing sodium. And with excess sodium in your bloodstream, there is a chance of high blood pressure. Regular intake of potassium in your diet ensures electrolyte balance and gets rid of excess sodium from your body.

6. Difficulty In Breathing

In very rare cases, some findings suggest low levels of potassium can result in breathing difficulties. It helps to expand and contract the diaphragm properly. When there is a shortage of potassium in the body, you might come across finding it difficult to breathe.

This shortness of breath can be fatal when overlooked. There are also instances where high levels of potassium can also affect your lungs the same way.

Healthy Foods That Are Rich In Potassium

Potatoes and bananas are not the only sources of potassium, which can help you with bodily functions. Many foods have potassium as the front nutrient, they are:

  • Sweet potatoes
  • Oranges
  • Potatoes
  • Bananas
  • Milk
  • Clams
  • Swiss Chard
  • Spinach
  • Tuna
  • Coconut Water
  • Tomatoes
  • Almonds
  • Avocado
  • White beans
  • Parsnips
  • Beets
  • Yogurt
  • Salmon
  • Cantaloupe
  • Prunes
  • Kidney beans
  • Apricots
  • Pistachio
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Acorn squash

Including these foods in your diet can help you with increasing your potassium levels in your body. Here are some tips to increase the potassium compound in your body:

  • Binge on fruits like berries, oranges instead of snacking
  • Add almonds and sunflower seeds to your oatmeal, or baked goods
  • Go for brown rice and quinoa instead of regular white rice
  • Have milk-based beverages and smoothies every two days
  • Use parsley, turmeric, basil, and thyme in your spices
  • Prunes and raisins can be your munching partner for the movie night
  • Add avocado and tomatoes to your morning toast
  • Always drink sufficient water
  • Eat yogurt more frequently
  • Use black beans and kidney beans on your side dishes
  • Have salmon or tuna once in your regular meal

Conclusion

Potassium is one of the easily available digestive nutrients that one can incorporate into their diet. Increased levels of potassium can also harm and lead to arrhythmia, nausea, and paralysis. So, keep a check on the portion and you will be fine. 

Apart from taking potassium from a natural source, you can also go for potassium supplements for effective and quick results. You would require consultation with a nutritionist or a doctor who can recommend the ideal dose and prescription of potassium supplements. 

References

  • Casado F, Mudunuru SA, Nasr R. A Case of Hypokalemia Possibly Induced by Nafcillin. Antibiotics (Basel). 2018 Dec 12;7(4) [PMC free article]
  • Belzile M, Pouliot A, Cumyn A, Côté AM. Renal physiology and fluid and electrolyte disorders in pregnancy. Best Pract Res Clin Obstet Gynaecol. 2019 May;57:1-14. [PubMed]

Dr. David G Kiely is a distinguished Medical Reviewer and former General Medicine Consultant with a wealth of experience in the field. Dr. Kiely's notable career as a General Medicine Consultant highlights his significant contributions to the medical field.

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