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What is potassium?

Potassium is a mineral found in the food you eat. It is also an electrolyte. Electrolytes conduct electrical impulses throughout the body. They contribute to a range of basic body functions, including:
  • blood pressure
  • Normal water balance
  • Muscle contraction
  • Nerve impulse
  • Digestion
  • Heart rhythm
  • pH balance (pH)

Your body does not naturally produce potassium. Therefore, it is important to consume a proper balance of potassium-rich foods and beverages.

Taking too little potassium can cause serious health problems. However, excessive intake can cause temporary or long-term health problems.

Healthy kidneys can maintain a positive in vivo
potassium levels normal, they will be discharged as excess potassium in the urine.

Source of Potassium

The most common source of potassium is food. Sources rich in potassium include:
  • Fruits such as apricots, bananas, kiwis, oranges and pineapples
  • Vegetables such as green leafy vegetables, carrots and potatoes
  • Lean meat
  • Whole grains
  • Beans and nuts

Most people get enough potassium through a balanced diet. For low potassium levels, the doctor may prescribe minerals in supplement form. If you have a serious defect, you may need intravenous (IV) treatment.

Potassium deficiency

Certain conditions can cause potassium deficiency or hypokalemia. These include:
  • Kidney disease
  • Overuse of diuretics
  • Excessive sweating, diarrhea, and vomiting
  • Magnesium deficiency
  • Use antibiotics such as carbenicillin and penicillin

The symptoms of hypokalemia vary depending on your degree of deficiency.

A temporary decrease in potassium may not cause any symptoms. For example, if you sweat a lot during strenuous exercise, your potassium levels may return to normal after eating or drinking electrolytes to avoid any damage.

However, serious defects can be life-threatening. Signs of potassium deficiency include:

  • Extreme fatigue
  • Muscle cramps, weakness, or cramps
  • Arrhythmia
  • Constipation, nausea, or vomiting

Hypokalemia is usually diagnosed by blood tests. Your doctor may also ask you to take a heart electrocardiogram and arterial blood gas test to measure the pH level in your body.

Potassium excess

Too much potassium can cause hyperkalemia . This is rare in people with a balanced diet. Risk factors for overdose include:

  • Taking too much potassium supplements
  • Kidney disease
  • Exercise for a long time
  • Cocaine use
  • Potassium-sparing diuretics
  • Chemotherapy
  • diabetes
  • Severe burns

The most obvious symptom of too much potassium is an abnormal heartbeat (arrhythmia). In severe cases, it can lead to death.

Cases of mild hyperkalemia rarely have obvious symptoms. If you have any risk factors, your doctor should request occasional blood tests.

There are different treatments for unbalanced potassium levels, depending on whether your level is too high or too low.

Hypokalemia (low)

Potassium supplements are usually the first choice for low potassium levels. If your kidneys are in good condition, supplements are most effective.

Severe hypokalemia may require intravenous treatment, especially if you have an abnormal heartbeat.

Potassium-sparing diuretics can remove excess sodium from the body. This will help normalize electrolyte levels. However, some diuretics and potassium supplements can be harmful to the digestive tract.

Consult your doctor about wax-coated pills to help prevent digestive problems. Only people with normal kidney function can use potassium-sparing diuretics.

Hyperkalemia (high)

Mild hyperkalemia can be treated with prescription drugs that increase potassium excretion. Other methods include diuretics or enemas.

Severe cases may require more complex treatment. Kidney dialysis can remove potassium. This treatment is the first choice for cases of renal failure.

For people with healthy kidneys, a doctor may recommend insulin and glucose. These help transport potassium from the blood to the cells for removal.

Salbutamol inhalers can also reduce dangerously high levels. Calcium gluconate can be used temporarily to stabilize the heart and reduce the risk of serious cardiac complications caused by hyperkalemia.

If you have no risk factors, changes in potassium in your body may not be a problem. A healthy kidney is usually sufficient to regulate potassium in the body.

The medical condition that affects the level should be monitored regularly. If you experience any abnormal symptoms, call your doctor.

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