8 Signs of Potassium Deficiency

8 Signs of Potassium Deficiency

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Potassium is one of the most indispensable trace elements in the human body. 70% of potassium is stored in muscles, 10% in skin, and the rest in red blood cells, brain and spinal cord, liver, heart and kidneys, and less in bones. Potassium has important physiological functions in clinical practice. It participates in maintain osmotic pressure and acid-base balance, lower blood pressure and protects the heart. The decrease in the total amount of potassium in the body is called potassium deficiency. Without potassium, the body’s normal physiological activities will be affected, and a large amount of potassium deficiency may even be fatal.

1. Fatigue in Leg and Arm Muscles

Potassium plays a crucial role in regulating muscles function, and a deficiency can impair this action, which may cause problems in the patient’s nervous system, muscle weakness and paralysis, especially at night and after overwork, the muscles of the limbs will be numb and weak, and the patient cannot stand or walk, and is mild. And individual with a severe potassium deficiency may not be able to stand up on their own.

2. Nausea

Potassium plays a role in regulating the digestive tract. Long-term potassium deficiency can slow down the patient's intestinal peristalsis. Patients may experience abdominal distension, nausea, loss of appetite, vomit and constipation. In severe cases, paralytic intestinal obstruction may occur.

3. Irregular Heartbeat or Palpitations

Potassium is one of the chief regulators of cardiovascular health. The flow of the mineral in and out of the cells of the heart facilitates a regular heartbeat. Without sufficient potassium, one may develop heart palpitations. In severe cases, ventricular tachycardia and ventricular fibrillation may occur, and even cardiac arrest may lead to death.

4. Excessive Urination

Excessive urination is one of the most reliable indicators of low potassium. The electrolyte aids the kidneys in flushing out excess nutrients, bacteria, and other matter. When potassium levels are too low, the kidneys go into overdrive and eliminate more fluids than they should.

5. Depression and Mood Swings

In many cases, Low levels of potassium can impact how efficiently blood circulates through the body, therefore cause disruptions in the production of hormones, including the mood-regulating hormone serotonin. A potassium deficiency may manifest in prolonged depressive periods and severe changes in mood and behavior such as increased anxiety or irritability.

6. Numbness

A deficiency in potassium means the muscles are not receiving the nutrients they need for maintenance. Without sufficient potassium, the brain cannot send muscles the nutrients that they need, resulting in prolonged numbness.

7. Tingling

Tingling is usually accompanied by muscle numbness. This is the second signal sent by the central nervous system to the brain and requires more nutrition.

8. Memory Loss

The hypokalemia state leads to damage to the central nervous system, and patients are more likely to experience memory loss, malaise, unresponsiveness, depression, lethargy, and apathy in expression.