Low Potassium - Symptoms and Signs

Not ready to share? Read other Patient Comments

What are your hypokalemia symptoms and signs?

Share your story with others:

MedicineNet appreciates your comment. Your comment may be displayed on the site and will always be published anonymously.Patient Comments FAQs

Enter your Comment

Tell us a bit about your background to make your comments more useful to other MedicineNet users. (Optional)

Screen Name: *

Gender of Patient: Male Female

Age Range of Patient:

I am a: Patient Caregiver

* Screen Name will appear next to the published comment. Please do not include your full name or email address.

By submitting your comment, and other materials (collectively referred to as a "Submission") to MedicineNet, you grant MedicineNet permission to use, copy, transmit, publish, display, edit and modify your Submission in connection with its Web site. MedicineNet will not pay you for your Submission. You represent that you have all rights necessary for MedicineNet to use your Submission as set forth above.

Please keep these guidelines in mind when writing your comment:

  • Please make sure you address the question asked.
  • Due to the overwhelming number of comments received, not all comments will be published.
  • When selecting comments to publish, our staff will choose those that are educational and complement the topic. Please try to stay on topic.
  • Your comment may be edited. We would typically edit comments to make them clearer and more readable. We will remove personal information such as last names, email and web addresses, and other potentially harmful information.
  • We will not notify you if your comment has been published. We suggest that you check back on the topic article regularly.
  • We do not provide medical or healthcare advice, treatment, or diagnosis.

Thank you for participating!

I have read and agree to abide by the MedicineNet Terms and Conditions and the MedicineNet Privacy Policy (required).

To prevent our systems from spam, please complete the following prior to submitting your comment.

Please select the black triangle:

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: warbotrain, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: March 19

I was hiking with friends on Saturday which was all uphill and pretty steep. About 500-600 feet elevation gain in about a mile. Anyway, near the top I started feeling faint and shaky and told my friends I had to sit down. My heart was racing, I felt nauseous and they said I was having a hard time talking with them. I kept trying to get enough oxygen but never got enough. My fingers were tingling. After 35 minutes of this (and standing up and trying to walk again but feeling faint every time and wobbly-kneed). So they insisted on calling 911 over my objections. This resulted in emergency medical people climbing up the trail to get me. They called in a helicopter and it found a small patch to land on and they flew me down to the roadway where an ambulance was waiting to take me to the hospital. I was in the ER for 5 hours (by then feeling just fine) but they did heart and blood tests, etc. and admitted me for overnight observation. Fortunately, my heart tests came back fine, I felt fine, and the doctor said my potassium level was extremely low and I was severely dehydrated when I arrived in the ER. So they blamed the incident on those two factors. I have been told to eat bananas, etc., and check in with my physician. I take HCTZ 25 mg. per day and Paxil 10 mg. They didn't worry about the Paxil but did advise that I consult my doctor about changing my HCTZ (which has handled my hypertension fabulously for over ten years). End of my story -- scary but it came out OK.

Was this comment helpful?Yes
Comment from: 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: April 08

My cardiologist put me on Florinef to control my low blood pressure. About two months later my legs began to cramp as if I had run a long distance. My doctor checked my potassium and it was normal. Three months later I had a sinus infection but it felt like I had the flu! My heart was racing and my entire body hurt. A few days later the intense leg cramps returned and I was unable to use my fingers or hands. By that night I was not able to walk. My potassium was a 1.7 when I arrived at the emergency room and my EKG was abnormal. I spent three nights in critical care for my hypokalemia. I took oral supplements every 4 hours and eventually had to get a PICC line as the IV did not bring my levels up. It has been a year and I just had my first normal potassium test but it was only 3.7.

Was this comment helpful?Yes


Get the latest health and medical information delivered direct to your inbox!

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors