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What are the symptoms of low potassium?

Related Topics: Potassium

Answers From Experts & Organizations (1)

5,093 Answers
269,763 Helpful Votes

Potassium affects the way neuromuscular cells discharge energy (depolarize) and then regenerate (repolarize) that energy to be able to fire again. When potassium levels are low, the cells cannot repolarize and are unable to fire repeatedly, as is needed for the function of muscles and nerves. It is understandable then that the effects of low potassium include:

  • Muscle weakness.
  • Muscle aches.
  • Muscle cramps.

Since the heart is also a muscle, there can be some changes in the electrocardiogram that are associated with low potassium syndrome, also known as hypokalemia, especially in the repolarization section of the ECG tracing. Palpitations (irregular heartbeats) may be perceived by the patient. In severe cases, hypokalemia can lead to dangerous disturbances in heart rhythm (arrhythmias).

This answer should not be considered medical advice...down arrowThis answer should not be considered medical advice and should not take the place of a doctor’s visit. Please see the bottom of the page for more information or visit our Terms and Conditions.up arrow

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Archived: March 20, 2014

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Read the Original Article: Low Potassium (Hypokalemia)