Symptoms Of Low Potassium
Symptoms of Low Potassium
Potassium is a vital component of our overall health and serves essential roles in our bodies, so it’s imperative to know and recognize the symptoms of low potassium. A potassium deficiency can wreak havoc on your state of wellness, and it’s important to know what foods to eat to replenish your levels.
What It Does and How To Get It
Potassium is an electrolyte that is absolutely necessary for our bodies to function properly. Potassium aids in muscle function, including the peristalsis that enables us to properly digest our food. Without enough potassium to stimulate this muscle activity, food would simply sit in our digestive tract and rot. Our bodies would become toxic within a very short period.
We can get all the potassium our bodies need by eating a healthy, balanced diet full of potassium-rich foods. Foods high in potassium include:
- Beef, chicken, pork, and other meats
- Salmon, flounder, cod, halibut, and tuna
- Kiwi fruit
- Lima beans
- Brussels sprouts
- Milk, cheese, and yogurt
- Oranges and orange juice
- Tomatoes and tomato sauce
- Raisins and grapes
Including as many of these foods as possible in your diet will ensure that you are getting lots of potassium. It is usually not necessary for a person to take a potassium supplement, since it is so widely available from such a variety of sources.
There are conditions that cause people to be unable to replenish their potassium stores through diet alone, and supplementation is needed. It’s best to consult a doctor and/or nutritionist if you are potassium deficient.
How To Tell When You’re Low
When potassium levels are depleted, it’s called hypokalemia. Extremely low potassium levels can be fatal. Dangerously low potassium levels are often found among malnourished people, as well as those who have compromised immune systems. Many times, people going through radiation or chemotherapy need to take supplements to keep up with the constant destruction of vital nutrients in the body.
Some symptoms of low potassium are:
- Low energy
- Stomach aches and indigestion
- Abnormal heartbeat
- Muscle cramps
- Nausea and vomiting
- Insatiable thirst
- Frequent urination
- Numbness, tingling in extremities
- Muscle spasms, twitching
- Bruising easily, more susceptible to injury
You can find potassium supplements (usually in tablets or capsules) to complement your diet and help to replenish lost potassium levels. It’s always best, though, to get the bulk of the nutrients you need from food sources. Try adding some of the potassium rich foods listed above into your daily routine. You may find that it’s not that difficult to maintain healthy potassium levels once you know which foods to eat.
Get creative. Each day, try making a recipe that incorporates at least three of the high-potassium foods on the list. You could make a spinach salad with salmon and strawberries. Try orange-glazed chicken with roasted potatoes on the side. The combination possibilities are endless and it can be fun to try new flavor combinations as you work on including more potassium in your diet.
If you have become severely potassium deficient, you may find that it is difficult to normalize your numbers quickly enough. In such cases, its best to consult a doctor or nutritionist who can help get you on a fast track to healthy potassium levels. He or she may prescribe a potassium supplement in addition to a well-balanced diet.