Minerals, fats, vitamins, carbohydrates and proteins are important for proper functioning of the body. Potassium is a major electrolyte and mineral, which is very essential for good health. It helps to maintain normal blood pressure and levels of electrolyte. It is important in proper functioning of heart and kidney. It is involved in normal nerve and muscle functioning. It plays a major role in heartbeat regulation and proper digestion as well.
Potassium is majorly found in fruits, vegetables, dairy products, meat, chicken and fish. Banana, tomato, potato skin, apricots, etc. are rich in potassium. Through urine, body throws out the extra potassium and maintains the balance of the minerals. If the potassium level falls below the normal level, it can be harmful. Acid levels get increased due to potassium deficiency, which leads to other health problems. Slight drop in potassium level may not cause any symptoms. But your heartbeats slow down, if there is a large decrease in potassium level.
Look at these symptoms of potassium deficiency-
- Dry skin– Minerals maintain the fluid levels in cells. Skin becomes dry because of the low level of potassium.
- High blood pressure– Blood pressure gets increased due to potassium deficiency. With low levels of potassium, body becomes more sensitive to sodium in the diet. This causes an increase in blood pressure.
- Irregular heartbeats– The major effect of potassium deficiency is irregular heartbeats. A person may experience a chest pain, sudden change in heartbeat and dizziness. It is a very dangerous effect of low potassium level and can cause the heart to stop functioning.
- Fatigue– Potassium is an electrolyte, which helps the electrical impulse functions in the body. Due to potassium deficiency, these impulses slow down, which leads to depression, confusion, anxiety. People also feel weak and tired.
- Muscle weakness– For proper functioning of muscles, potassium is very essential. Potassium in the body helps to store the carbohydrates. Muscles use these carbohydrates as a fuel for daily activity. Because of the low level of potassium, muscles become weak and cannot function normally; sometimes it becomes difficult for a person to hold the objects. Sudden cramps in the muscle or twitches are the common symptoms.
- Paralysis– Potassium helps muscle movement. Low potassium can cause the paralysis. The digestive system cannot work properly because of the paralysis, which leads to problems like constipation and stomach cramps.
- Thirst and urination– Low level of potassium causes loss of water from the body, as the kidney is unable to function properly. Extreme thirst and frequent urination are the common symptoms of potassium deficiency.
- Numbness– Low potassium causes numbness and burning sensation in feet and hands.
Improper sleep, kidney diseases, excessive sweating, discharge of potassium from body in large amount, vomiting, diarrhea, these are the causes of deficiency. Antibiotics and other medicines also cause the potassium deficiency. By knowing the exact cause, health professional can treat the patient and also make sure that the patient should get diet, which is rich in potassium such as unprocessed food, fresh vegetables and fruits. Potassium supplements also help to maintain potassium levels.
Understanding the symptoms of low potassium levels is an important step to deal with potassium deficiency. Consult your doctor to find more about potassium deficiency.