Are you deficient in potassium? Look for these signs and symptoms to find out

Potassium is important to maintain several bodily functions. Watch out for these signs and symptoms of any kind of deficiency!
Potassium supplements
Potassium can be consumed via food or supplements. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Aayushi Gupta Published: 29 Jun 2021, 13:20 pm IST
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Have you ever noticed how TV commercials always mention the importance of vitamins and minerals for your body? Well, it is because the daily growth and functioning of our bodies depends on the vitamins and minerals we eat. Therefore, maintaining the balance of such nutrients is important.

One such mineral that your body needs is potassium. It has many roles to play in your body. Potassium is one of the electrolytes in the body, which is needed for the cells to function, besides other electrolytes like sodium, chloride, calcium, and magnesium. These electrolytes help in regulating our blood pressure, affect the hydration and muscle function in the body. 

Why is potassium important for our bodies?

Potassium is an essential mineral that helps in regulating muscle contraction, maintains healthy nerve function, regulates fluid balance, and promotes a healthy cardiovascular system. And if you’re dealing with potassium deficiency, it can raise your risk of high blood pressure, kidney stones, lower bone turnover, urinary calcium excretion, and salt sensitivity. 

Low potassium is medically known as hypokalemia and if your problem is temporary, you might not feel any symptoms. Once your potassium levels fall below a certain level, there are certain signs and symptoms that can show up to indicate deficiency.

1. Weakness and fatigue

Low potassium levels in your blood can cause weakness, fatigue and sometimes light headache. Every cell in your body needs the right amount of potassium to function and its deficiency might cause you to feel dizzy, faint or light headed. 

2. Muscle cramps

Potassium plays a key role in smooth muscle contraction and growth. So, when levels are low, you might experience cramps, aches, and spasms. You might experience these cramps any time of the day and they can increase while exercising. 

symptoms of potassium deficiency
Don’t make the mistake of ignoring muscle cramps. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
3. Constipation

Digestive problems have many causes, one of which is potassium deficiency. Low potassium levels in your body can affect the bowel function, thus leading to constipation, bloating and cramping. 

4. High blood pressure

Since potassium plays an important part in maintaining blood pressure, you may experience episodes of high blood pressure. Without enough potassium in the body, blood vessel walls can become constricted, which results in hypertension. Our body needs potassium, because it helps relax blood vessels, thus preventing high blood pressure problems.

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5. Breathing problems

Severe hypokalemia can also lead to breathing problems. Potassium regulates the contraction of all muscles, including heart muscles. Very low levels of potassium can lead to irregular heart rhythm or breathing issues. Seek medical care immediately, if you experience abnormal heart rhythm.

So ladies, keep these symptoms in mind and track your potassium intake to avoid complications related to potassium deficiency.

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About the Author

Aayushi Gupta is a health writer with a special interest in trends related to diet, fitness, beauty and intimate health. With around 2 years of experience in the wellness industry, she is connected to leading experts and doctors to provide our readers with factually correct information. ...Read More

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