Potassium is a trace mineral, found outside the body. It is responsible for helping several systems within the human body and allowing the muscles to work properly. This includes the most important muscle - your heart. It also regulates blood pressure and manages hypertension. Potassium is considered an electrolyte, keeping the pH balance in your body in check. Potassium relays signals from your brain to your other systems. When potassium levels are low, the body becomes weak. You will function at a lower level than normal. The kidneys help manage the levels of potassium in the body, removing any excess of the mineral through the urine. When the potassium levels are too low in the body, many health conditions can occur. There are several early warning signs to look for.
A potassium deficiency affects all of the muscles in the body. Since the heart is a muscle, a potassium deficiency creates blood pressure problems. A potassium deficiency can lead to high blood pressure. In addition, if you are having dizzy spells and have cold hands and feet, then low potassium could also cause you to have low blood pressure. This condition can be as serious as high blood pressure. Lack of potassium makes it more difficult for your body to manage your blood pressure. This may exacerbate underlying hypertensive conditions. Lack of potassium makes it difficult to keep your blood pressure high enough if you have chronic low blood pressure.
When you experience very low levels of potassium, one of the more intense symptoms is hallucinations. In addition to this, other mental or emotional problems occur at varying levels. These include having unclear thoughts, clouded judgment, confusion, inability to concentrate, and mild or severe anxiety and depression. Consult your primary care physician as soon as possible to determine the cause of these symptoms. Increasing the levels of potassium can typically help regulate these feelings and emotions.
One of the most recognizable early warning signs of a potassium deficiency is muscle cramps. The most common areas that people experience cramping are in the arms, legs, and feet. This occurs when the cells that enable the muscles in the human body to function properly do not receive the needed electrical responses and signals. The cramping can range from mild cramping to painful, extreme cramping that can make it difficult to walk or sit still. A severe cramp called a "Charley Horse" is a notable symptom of low potassium. If you experience a type of twitching or pressure in the toes that causes them to draw up, this can also be an early warning sign for low potassium.
Fatigue or a lethargic feeling can be attributed to many health conditions - or even just a side effect of working too hard or stress. This makes it easy to ignore when it can actually be an early warning signal of a potassium deficiency. When you are not merely tired because you have had a few nights of unrestful sleep, then low potassium levels could definitely be the underlying reason. When this fatigue is in conjunction with a few other symptoms that can be attributed to a potassium deficiency, then it may be a good time to make an appointment with a healthcare professional.
One of the easiest ways to tell if you may have a potassium deficiency is to judge how the muscles in your body seem to be working. The levels of potassium in the body may be too low when you find that your muscles weaken under normal circumstances, such as your daily routine. Be especially careful if you find that you are straining or tearing your muscles frequently or too easily. Keep in mind that potassium helps to heal our muscles. If we do not have enough potassium, then it is more difficult for your body to renew itself.
Do not ignore pain or problems with the heart. If you experience chest pain or other issues that seem irregular with the heart, you should go to the emergency room as soon as possible. Heart palpitations can be a very common symptom of low potassium levels. A simple supplement regimen can often correct this. However, your doctor should guide you to how much and when to supplement your diet with potassium. Even though a potassium deficiency could cause the heart irregularities, you should be careful when it comes to any pain related to the heart. Always consult a medical professional with chest pains and an irregular heartbeat.
Constipation is generally a consequence of a meal plan low in dietary fiber. Low potassium levels can also cause hard stools and difficulty with bowel movements. A decrease in the body's potassium levels affects all the muscles in the body. This makes it increasingly difficult for you to have regular bowel movements. Often, increasing the daily intake of potassium can help with constipation. Seek medical treatment to alleviate the pain and discomfort connected with this early warning symptom. You may also be tested for low potassium levels in the blood.
Low potassium levels can cause a lot of problems with the functioning of the muscles in the body. This also affects the skin and sensations within and across the body. A common sign of a potassium deficiency can be a tingling or numbing sensation in various parts of the body. The common areas are the hands, feet, arms, legs, and the face. This symptom is almost always paired with weak muscles and cramping. When these feelings are combined, low potassium is quite frequently the culprit. Just be sure to be tested by a physician for a definitive answer.
Dizziness is a warning sign that the levels of potassium in the body are extremely low. This may also be an indicator that you need to eat something high in potassium as soon as possible to help raise the levels. A good choice is a banana or a few slices of avocado. You should also make an appointment with a healthcare professional as soon as possible to be put on a supplement regimen or to even discuss a change in diet to help naturally alter the potassium levels within your body. This can be achieved through a simple blood test.
When your body realizes that it is not getting enough potassium, it initiates several cues to signal you about the need. The most common of these is a constant thirst that cannot be sated, no matter how much water you drink. Drinking large amounts of water to try to rid yourself of this constant thirst also causes frequent urination. This, in turn, may lead to even lower amounts of potassium in the body, as it can be excreted out. However, be sure to seek medical help, as that this can also be a symptom for several health conditions, including those of a much more serious nature, such as diabetes.
This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.