Potassium Deficiency: 8 Signs And Symptoms

Potassium, an essential trace mineral, plays many important roles in our body. It helps regulate muscle contractions to allow the muscles to work properly, including our heart, the most important muscle. It's also responsible for regulating blood pressure and fluid balance.

The normal levels of potassium in the blood serum are between 3.5 to 5.0 mmol/l. Levels lower than 3.5 mmol/l are considered hypokalemia, and levels lower than 2.5 mmol/l define severe hypokalemia.

According to a national survey, nearly 98% of Americans are not meeting the recommended potassium intake. Low potassium can weaken our body and be a trigger for many health conditions. Common causes of a potassium deficiency include potassium deficient diets, diarrhea, side effects from some medications, and more. The treatment of potassium deficiency is to replace potassium orally or intravenously.

Potassium deficiency can be detected through a blood test or an electrocardiogram. While mild potassium deficiency may not cause symptoms, severe cases usually show some of the following signs.

Low Potassium Symptom #1: Fatigue

Fatigue usually manifests as lethargy or somnolence. There are two types of fatigue: physical fatigue and mental fatigue. Physical fatigue means the transient inability of muscles to execute their peak physical performance, whereas mental fatigue refers to the temporary inability to achieve maximum cognitive performance.

Fatigue can be seen in many health conditions, such as overwork, mental stress, inadequate sleep, boredom, and more. It can also be attributed to mineral deficiencies, including potassium deficiency. Low levels of potassium may affect the way your body uses nutrients, which in turn causes fatigue.

When fatigue shows up alongside a few other symptoms that can be more accurately attributed to a potassium deficiency, it may then be a good time for you to check with your doctor.

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