What Is Hypokalemia?
Hypokalemia occurs when there is a significant reduction in the potassium levels in the body. Potassium acts as an important mineral that helps in proper functioning of the muscle and nerve cells through its electrolytic properties. Kidneys in the body are responsible for regulating the levels of potassium in the body, letting the extra potassium pass out in the form of sweat or urine from the body.
What Are The Symptoms Of Hypokalemia?
Hypokalemia symptoms usually do not show up until the potassium levels in the body have reached an extremely low level. It is prudent to stay aware of the symptoms Hypokalemia if they occur. Here are a few:
- Faster heart beats (palpitations).
- Muscle cramps.
- Potassium levels below 2.5 mmol/L are considered to be fatal. These can be diagnosed by symptoms like:
- Lazy bowels (Ileus).
- Muscle tissue rupture.
- Failure of respiratory organs.
- Loss of appetite.
People who consume medications containing digitalis (a drug made from herbs) can witness irregular heartbeat conditions.
What Are The Causes Of Hypokalemia?
There a number of causes for Hypokalemia in the body. Here are some of the prominent ones.
- Kidney disorders such as Liddle Syndrome, Bartter Syndrome, And Gitelman Syndrome lead to increase in blood pressure and imbalance in the salt and potassium in the body.
- Chewing tobacco
- Diuretic drugs (drugs which produce more urine in the body)
- High administration of penicillin.
- Use of laxatives for a long term.
- Deficiency of magnesium
- Issues related to adrenal glands.
- Poisoning by Barium
What Are The Things One Should Do To Manage Hypokalemia?
As Hypokalemia occurs due to loss of potassium, so it is obvious that the patient will have to fix the potassium intake in the body.
- Consult a specialist doctor immediately if the potassium levels in the body have become drastically low due to Hypokalemia.
- Take the necessary medicines as instructed by the doctor, whether orally or through IV, to compensate the potassium loss in the body.
- Treat conditions like vomiting and diarrhoea in the patient by consulting a doctor.
- Patients who are getting nasogastric suction should be administered with H2 blockers.
- Consume potassium orally with plenty of liquids, both before and after the meals.
What Are The Things One Should Avoid To Manage Hypokalemia?
- Do not use diuretics and laxatives.
- Do not consume alcohol.
- Do not exercise for more than 2 hours daily without a high-calorie diet.
What Are The Best Foods For Hypokalemia?
- Potassium-rich diet: Hypokalemia is treatable by following a potassium-rich diet that will prevent the loss of the mineral in the body. A proper diet plan rich in foods containing potassium such as avocados, bananas, figs, kiwis, oranges, spinach, bran, peanut butter, beans, peas, tomatoes, etc., is needed for rejuvenating body low on the mineral. However, it is also necessary that the patient is not taking too much potassium, crossing the limit.
- Dairy products and meat: Potassium is also found in meat and dairy products that can be added to a patient's diet. Some of these foods are milk, cheese, chicken, red meat, etc.
What Are The Worst Foods For Hypokalemia?
- Foods that are low in Potassium: As potassium is highly required in this diet for Hypokalemia, it is advisable to avoid foods that will not be able to provide the necessary mineral. Some of these are cherries, blackberries, blueberries, grapes, peach, etc.
- High Sodium content foods: Sodium counters potassium, which is why it is advisable to skip foods that are high in sodium. Some of these are bacon, pretzels, ham, potato chips, salted popcorn, pizza, etc.
What Are The Medicines For Hypokalemia?
What Are The Tips To Manage Hypokalemia?
Make sure that the patient follows the prescribed food diet rich in potassium properly. The patient should not consume too much potassium either.