Low Potassium: Signs, Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

Potassium is largely involved in regulating fluid balance. It is found in every cell, so without it, cells lose the ability to function properly.Potassium is a beneficial electrolyte that works with sodium to regulate blood pressure. It also transmits electrical impulses to control your nerves and muscles.This can occur as a result of chronic vomiting, diarrhea, blood loss, or excessive sweating. In most cases people are not aware of the deficiency, so it remains untreated. The signs and symptoms to look out for can help you identify the condition quickly, so you can increase potassium intake and maintain healthy balance.

Potassium helps to regulate muscle function, specifically contractions, so when levels are low, your muscles have weaker contractions, which makes you feel tired out.The uncontrolled contractions of your muscles are spasms or cramps, and they can be very painful. Low levels of potassium in the blood trigger these spasms more frequently.Potassium is responsible for relaying signals from your brain that stimulate contractions as needed. When the levels are low, however, these signals are not effectively relayed. You end up with more prolonged contractions and cramps.Without potassium, the contractions get weaker and digestive processes slow down, causing constipation and bloating. Studies have even shown a link between severe deficiency and total gut paralysis, although the specifics behind the link are unclear.Breathing complications only occur when potassium levels become very low. This is because of the role potassium plays in the relay of signals to your lung muscles.