Potassium is one of the prime electrolytes required by your body. But how many of you know the importance and what could happen if you are not having an adequate amount of potassium? Almost 98% of potassium is present in your cells while only 2% is available in your blood. Potassium levels must be maintained within the range of 3.5-5 mmol/L and if it goes below the desired range, a condition termed as hypokalemia occurs.
Potassium deficiency demonstrates a wide range of signs. Most of its signs are either mild, vague or sometimes mimic other disease symptoms. Hence, they are usually overlooked or misdiagnosed until the severity increases.
Here, we shall explore the most prominent signs that reflect potassium deficiency.
1. Getting exhausted too often
As potassium is required by every cell of your body, a decline in its concentration may result in generalized fatigue. So, if you feel tired or weak quite frequently without any overwork or exercise, it is likely that your potassium levels are low.
2. Increased cramps
Potassium plays a crucial role in building the strength of your muscles. A drop in its levels may cause aches and cramps in your arms, legs or feet. If you experience cramps on a regular basis, potassium may be held responsible.
3. Tingling and numbness
Potassium aids in keeping your nerves healthy. Therefore, if you experience the sensation similar to that of pricking pins and needles, you need to get your potassium levels checked.
4. Irregular heartbeat
If you feel sudden pounding or fluttering of your heart or an increase in heart rate for no reason, potassium deficiency could be one of the culprits.
5. Fluctuation in blood pressure
Low potassium levels usually result in high blood pressure while sometimes you may have symptoms of low blood pressure such as dizziness, fainting frequently or constantly cold hands and feet. In either case, lack of potassium could be the underlying issue.
6. Constipation/ Nausea
A lack of potassium in your body may also compromise your digestion process and may result in constipation. In addition, it might be accompanied by bloating and abdominal cramps. Although several other reasons can make you puffier, potassium deficiency should not be ignored. Furthermore, severely reduced levels of potassium can also cause nausea or vomiting.
7. Brain fogging
You may feel confused, face difficulty in concentrating, and sluggishness in thinking due to brain fog. Moreover, sometimes low potassium levels may cause abnormal psychological behavior and you may suffer from depression or feel hallucinations.
8. Increased urination
A drop in potassium levels is commonly associated with low sodium levels, due to which your kidneys potential of water retention gets suppressed. So, you may have to go to the loo frequently than usual. As a result, your thirst may also increase.
The signs of potassium deficiency can be subtle, you must not fool around with them as they can be life-threatening. Having a potassium-rich diet will help replenish the deficiency and curb the symptoms.
Try to include the following potassium-rich foods in your diet :
– Coconut water
– Sweet potato
If you feel your symptoms are still not subsiding, seeking medical advice would be a good idea.