Potassium Deficiency

Potassium is a mineral (electrolyte) responsible for electrical and cellular functions in the body. It is essential in assisting the functioning of all organs, tissues and cells. Potassium deficiency as a result of diet is rare because the majority of foods we eat in the modern day contain potassium.

Those with the following medical conditions should be aware of potassium deficiency symptoms:

  • Cystic Fibrosis
  • Kidney Disease
  • Heart Disease
  • Chronic Diarrhea
  • Persistent Vomiting
  • Influenza
  • Anorexia
  • Nervosa
  • Alcoholism
  • Malnutrition
  • Diabetes
  • Cushing’s Syndrome
  • Chronic Respiratory Failure
  • Anemia
  • Ulcerative Colitis
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  • Excessive Excretion of Aldosterone
  • Surgical Operations Involving the Bowel

Symptoms of Potassium Deficiency

Symptoms of potassium deficiency vary depending on severity. A person experiencing potassium deficiency may be affected by one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Muscle Fatigue and Weakness
  • Mental Confusion
  • Irritability
  • Irregular Heartbeat
  • Abnormally Dry Skin
  • Low Blood Pressure
  • Glucose Intolerance
  • Muscle Cramps
  • Insatiable Thirst
  • Chills
  • Nausea and Vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Nervousness
  • Depression
  • Constipation
  • High Cholesterol Levels
  • Salt Retention
  • Impaired Growth
  • Edema
  • Insomnia
  • Diarrhea
  • Periodic Headaches
  • Extreme cases: cardiac arrest

Potassium assists in the regulation of the acid-base balance, protein synthesis from amino acids and in the metabolism of carbohydrate. Potassium is instrumental in maintaining normal electrical activity of the heart, thus its categorization as an electrolyte. Potassium helps to regulate blood pressure and keeps the heart thumping. Potassium aids in muscle contraction, is essential for conducting nerve impulses and also regulates the transfer of nutrients through cell membranes. Research suggests that a high potassium diet may help protect against cardiovascular disease, hypertension and strokes.

Potassium Rich Foods

As mentioned previously, potassium deficiency as a result of diet is rare due to the abundance of potassium rich foods in the modern day diet. The following foods are all rich in potassium:

  • Apricots
  • Avocado
  • Oranges
  • Potatoes
  • Tomatoes
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Bell pepper
  • Chard
  • Eggplant
  • Squash
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Crimini mushrooms
  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Turmeric
  • Parsley
  • Halibut
  • Tuna

Treatment For Potassium Deficiency

Eating bananas is a popular way to rapidly boost potassium levels. Potassium supplements are available but in the majority of cases simple dietary adjustment is adequate to rebalance potassium deficiency. In cases where the body is suffering from a malabsorption of potassium a number of medical potassium treatments can be used, these include potassium acetate, potassium bicarbonate, K+ Care and ET Kaliolite.

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