According to science, Your potassium level affects your nerves and communication with muscle cells in the digestive system, heart and all other muscles. Most of the body’s potassium is inside cells and the potassium level in the bloodstream is normally maintained within a specific range by the endocrine system. Hypokalemia is a medical condition in which your potassium levels are low and decreases insulin sensitivity. People with hypokalemia will experience a variety of physical difficulties.
1. Watch for early warning signs. The first signs of moderately low potassium can be muscle aches, cramps and abnormal weakness ((including respiratory and gastrointestinal muscle weakness if severe).
Low potassium levels won’t allow neuromuscular cells to recharge quickly, which prevents them from firing repeatedly, meaning that muscles have difficulty in contracting.
Faintness, muscle spasms, and muscle tingling or numbness can indicate worsening potassium deficiency and should be checked by a physician right away.
2. Get a diagnosis early.
Extended or severe low potassium can affect the heart. Low potassium levels can cause change in its proper function. This can include irregular heartbeats, such as dangerous arrhythmia in severe cases.
Prolonged low potassium can cause structural and functional changes in the kidney.
There is also excessive blood potassium, which is more dangerous: The symptoms of too much potassium when serious are heart palpitations, muscle pain, muscle weakness, or numbness, abnormal heart rate, possibly cardiac arrest and death.
3. Be aware of circumstances that can lead to low potassium.
If you are experiencing diarrhea, dehydration, vomiting, constipation, or weakness, then you may need to have your potassium levels tested. This test involves having blood drawn and getting a basic metabolic panel of tests (BMP)including ones for electrolytes (which include sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, chloride, hydrogen phosphate, and hydrogen carbonate).
Depending upon your situation, your doctor may alternatively want you to have a comprehensive metabolic panel (CMP), which adds liver function tests to the basic panel.