Low Potassium - Symptoms and Signs

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What are your hypokalemia symptoms and signs?

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What are the symptoms of low potassium?

Potassium affects the way neuromuscular cells discharge energy (depolarize) and then regenerate (repolarize) that energy to be able to fire again. When potassium levels are low, the cells cannot repolarize and are unable to fire repeatedly, and muscles and nerves may not function normally. The effects of low potassium include may cause the following symptoms:

  • muscle weakness,
  • muscle aches,
  • muscle cramps, and
  • palpitations (irregular heartbeats).
Return to Low Potassium (Hypokalemia)

See what others are saying

Comment from: netnana01, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: July 18

I just had my first colonoscopy today. It was so much easier than I had imagined. With everyone saying the preparation the day before was the worst, I decided to try to make things as easy on myself as possible. Saturday and Sunday I ate only soft foods and no meats. Monday through Wednesday, I had only clear liquids. I mixed my GoLytely with lemon flavoring and one pack of lemonade drink mix. To my surprise, it wasn't so bad. I started drinking it about noon on Wednesday and was clear by 3. I went in today and during the procedure was given Demerol and Versed. I remember seeing the monitor of the colonoscopy a few times but absolutely no pain. Thirty minutes later I was headed home feeling just a little tired but otherwise, totally fine. I won't be afraid of any future ones.

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Comment from: Lisa, Female (Patient) Published: July 21

I had my gallbladder removed 4 years ago, and since then I have had to have 6 treatments of IV potassium. The last hypokalemia episode was so frightening. I was admitted to the hospital after entering through the emergency room (ER) department. I thought I was having heart attack. I had stabbing chest pain that would not go away and would last up to an hour, my blood pressure at 196/115, trouble breathing, swelling in my feet up to my thighs; I gained 15 lb in water weight. As I was being admitted to my room by the nurse, I remember saying I feel like I'm going to blackout. I was sweating like I had run a marathon, I was paralyzed, I couldn't breathe, I was hyperventilating, every muscle in my body was in extreme cramp and I was screaming in pain. The nurses called the ER (emergency response) team to my room. After 30 minutes the episode passed and I was given 8 bags of potassium through IV. I took 10 days to recover.

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