Low Potassium - 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)

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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.

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Comment from: GODS CHILD, 75 or over Male (Patient) Published: June 16

I was undergoing severe continuous headache from 2001 and was diagnosed with idiopathic intracranial hypertension and edema in the eye till 2011. From 2012 onwards I developed idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP), and platelets drop every 6 months. From 2015 December, after IVIG, all reports are normal, and at present platelets are 40,000. After having papaya leaf juice daily it increased to 90,000 right now. Every time I was treated with steroids, I had heavy bleeding in every month's cycle. Presently due to suppression of immune system it has led to tuberculosis (TB) in the neck found after biopsy. At present I am not able to take treatment for TB because I may undergo blood and platelets loss again while treating. For more than 15 years I have been in search of doctors, tests and investigation, and looking for suggestion to improve my health and to lead peaceful life without any fear.

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