What Causes Potassium Deficiency?

Potassium is an electrolyte, which means it conducts electricity within the body. Potassium is essential for the proper functioning of nerve and muscle cells, especially the heart muscle. The best sources of potassium-rich foods are an alternative to ending the deficiency and having the necessary amount for good health.

Potassium deficiency , also known as hypokalemia , can occur for a number of reasons. Symptoms of hypokalemia include abnormal heart rhythms, constipation, muscle breakdown, fatigue, and paralysis. So, check out What Causes Potassium Deficiency? .

Antibiotics: Certain antibiotics can cause a potassium deficiency . These include gentamicin, amphotericin B, and carbenicillin, according to the National Institutes of Health . People who are at higher risk for potassium deficiencies should talk to their doctors about choosing a different antibiotic.

If other antibiotic options are not an option of choice (ie, have to use), doctors may recommend increasing potassium in your diet or in supplement form.

Kidney Disease: Kidney diseases can actually keep the body without potassium . People with hyperaldosteronism, a condition in which the body produces too much aldosterone, may have low potassium levels .

Also, People with Fanconi syndrome, a disease in which the kidney does not absorb the ideal amount of certain substances, such as potassium , thus causing a potassium deficiency .

Eating Disorders  : Eating disorders such as bulimia can affect electrolyte balances, according to the “ University of Maryland Medical Center” . Bulimia is a disease in which people consume food and then use laxatives or vomiting to prevent weight gain.

In addition, constant vomiting can cause dehydration and cause a decrease in potassium levels . which in turn lead to potassium deficiencies and potentially cause fatal heart attack and arrhythmias.

Diuretics: Diuretics are often prescribed to treat conditions such as high blood pressure, glaucoma and congestive heart failure. The Mayo Clinic explains that diuretics eliminate excess salt and water from the body, causing the kidneys to put more salt in the urine, and the water goes with it.

Some diuretics such as furosimide can cause a decrease in potassium levels . Doctors generally recommend increasing dietary potassium and periodic blood chemistry tests to monitor blood levels of electrolytes such as potassium.

Excessive sweating: Excessive sweating can occur for a number of reasons. Heavy exercise, high fevers, or heavy work outdoors or in high temperatures can cause increased sweating.

The National Institute of Health explains that sweat contains electrolytes and excessive sweating can lead to decreased potassium levels . Also, people should avoid working in excessive heat if possible and remember to hydrate frequently with water or electrolyte replacement drinks such as Gatorade.

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