Low Potassium Side Effects

Low potassium side effects are the first indicators that your body needs a boost of this important nutritional component. Potassium is a mineral that, as an electrolyte, is absolutely necessary for proper function of the kidneys, heart, skeletal and digestive muscles. With such an important job, maintaining proper levels of potassium can't be ignored - nor can symptoms of low potassium when they appear.

When potassium levels dip below their proper levels, some of the following are common side effects:

  • Constant thirst
  • Fatigue
  • Frequent constipation
  • Frequent headaches
  • Glucose intolerance
  • Heart attack
  • High cholesterol
  • Insomnia
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Low blood pressure
  • Muscle cramps
  • Persistent nausea, vomiting and diarrhea
  • Recurring chills
  • Retaining salt
  • Very dry skin

Conditions that affect low potassium levels include kidney and heart disease, respiratory failure, diabetes, anorexia and vomiting, malnutrition, anemia, alcoholism, Cystic Fibrosis and Crohn's disease.

A healthy diet that includes more than adequate amounts of vegetables and fruits is usually more than enough to provide the amount of the minerals needed for balanced levels. A diet that consists of foods containing high sodium levels may require an addition of more potassium to the system.

To ensure proper potassium levels, a healthy diet should include fruits and vegetables to supply potassium to the body. Bananas, avocados, tomatoes, salmon, chicken, and lima beans are good sources rich in the mineral.

As the aging process takes place, the kidneys function less efficiently and older people may experience hyperkalemia resulting in too much potassium in the bloodstream. On the other hand, hypokalemia occurs when there is too little potassium in the bloodstream. A proper balance of potassium is important and affected by the amount of magnesium and sodium in the body.

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