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The Causes and Symptoms of Potassium Deficiency

Potassium deficiency (hypokalemia) is a severe lack of potassium in the body. Potassium is an essential mineral for the proper functioning of the body.

Potassium helps to regulate the contractions of the muscles, boosts the proper functioning of the heart, maintains the healthy functioning of the nerves, regulates the blood pressure, and balances the body fluids.

Hypokalemia is a potentially life-threatening condition. You are said to have this condition when the potassium levels fall below 3.6 millimoles per liter (mmol/L). You have acute potassium deficiency if the levels of potassium are below 2.5 mmol/L.

What Are The Causes of Potassium Deficiency?

There are several causes of a low level of potassium in the body. Most of the causes of hypokalemia indicate an underlying medical condition. Here are the significant causes of potassium deficiency:

  1. A Ketogenic Diet

A lot of people are shifting to a keto diet for weight loss. What many people do not know is that the Ketogenic diet has some adverse effects, known as the keto flu.

A keto diet demands that you take a low carb meal, which lacks essential minerals such as potassium and Sodium.

Potassium and Sodium help in the balancing of the electrolytes in the body. The low car diet causes the loss of these essential minerals through urine.

To ensure you are not missing out on this mineral on ketosis, include foods rich in these minerals or supplements as a source of Potassium for Keto Diet.

  1. A Health Condition
  • underlying medical condition such as dysfunctional kidneys or adrenal glands can cause low levels of potassium in the body.
  1. Vomiting or diarrhea causes potassium deficiency. Your body loses a lot of electrolytes through the fluids, which causes low levels of potassium in the body.
  2. Medications, such as antibiotics and diuretics.
  3. Low levels of minerals in the blood such as Sodium and magnesium
  4. Poor eating patterns.

What Are The Symptoms of Potassium Deficiency?

  1. Body Weakness and Fatigue

Feeling weak or tired is the first primary symptom of mineral deficiency. Low levels of potassium affect how the body intakes and uses the nutrients, thus causing fatigue. Additionally, potassium regulates the contraction and the relaxation of the muscles. Potassium deficiency causes weak contraction of the muscles, which causes fatigue.

  1. Poor Digestion

Potassium deficiency causes poor digestion. Potassium coordinates the brain with the digestive system muscles to regulate the movement of muscles to aid in the movement of food and digestion.

When there is a potassium deficiency, the brain gets affected and cannot stimulate the contractions in the digestive system. It causes constipation, digestive system paralysis, or constipation.

  1. Muscle Cramps

Another common effect of potassium deficiency is muscle cramps. Potassium stimulates the brain to cause muscle contractions.

When potassium levels are low, the brain is unable to stimulate the movement of muscles effectively. This causes prolonged muscle contractions, which results in muscle cramps.

  1. Breathing Problems

Potassium sends signals to the brain, which stimulates the lung muscles to contract and relax when breathing. Severe potassium deficiency causes the lungs to stop functioning correctly, causing difficulty when breathing.

  1. Heart Problems

Low levels of potassium in the body can cause heart problems. Potassium regulates the movement of blood to and from the cells affecting the heartbeat. Potassium deficiency affects the flow of blood, causing heart palpitations and irregular heartbeats.


Several factors lead to potassium deficiency. However, the leading cause of this condition is excessive loss of body fluids through sweating, vomiting, or diarrhea. To meet the requirement of potassium in the blood, ensure you are taking foods rich in potassium and other minerals. If you have any of these symptoms, talk to your doctor to check if there is an underlying medical condition.

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