Low potassium symptoms develop when levels of potassium in the blood are moderately to severely low, a condition called hypokalemia. Typically small decreases in the potassium level of the blood do not cause symptoms.
Potassium is an important element in the body because it is necessary for the proper functioning of muscles, nerves and cells. Blood levels of potassium are regulated by cells which take in potassium
The main source for potassium is through intake of food and drinks and the main losses of potassium are through sweat, feces, and urine.
Low potassium levels typically occur because potassium is lost in abnormal levels through chronic diarrhea, vomiting, use of diuretics or laxatives, or due to the presence of colon polyps.
Low potassium level symptoms:
- muscle twitching
- abnormal heartbeat
Diagnosis is typically through observation of symptoms during physical examination and laboratory blood testing of potassium levels.
Treatment is typically with administration of potassium supplements or eating potassium-rich foods. Severe hypokalemia would require intravenous administration of electrolytes.