What Is Hypokalemia?
What is hypokalemia? Hypokalemia is the technical term for a low potassium level. Potassium, represented by K on the periodic table of elements, is one of the most important components of the blood. Mild hypokalemia is diagnosed with a serum potassium level less than 3.5 mEq/L, and severe hypokalemia is usually less than 2.5 mEq/L. This common condition has numerous causes; quite a few problematic symptoms; and standard, effective treatments. Causes of Hypokalemia The causes of hypokalemia fall into three categories: poor intake increased excretion and potassium shifts. Poor intake is rather easy to understand: the patient merely does not take in enough potassium. This may result from eating disorders, dental problems, and poverty. Failure to replace potassium can lead to symptoms ranging from mild to severe. Increased excretion of potassium is usually seen in the cases of vomiting and diarrhoea. In these conditions, the potassium is excreted far faster than the patient can replace it. Some medications, such as diuretics, can cause potassium loss. Excessive urination, such as that which occurs with diabetes, is another culprit. Perhaps more difficult to understand is the shift of f Continue reading >>