The Importance of Potassium
Potassium is an essential nutrient, required by the body for a variety of fundamental processes. Individuals deficient in potassium may experience a wide range of symptoms, several of which may be life-threatening. Having a low potassium level is also known as hypokalemia.
Doctors diagnose an individual as having a potassium deficiency when their potassium levels are lower than 3.6 mmol per liter. If a person’s potassium levels fall below 2.5 mmol per liter, they would be diagnosed as having severe hypokalemia, a life-threatening condition.
There are eight main symptoms associated with hypokalemia.
- Unexplained fatigue
- Muscle weakness
- Muscle paralysis
- Breathing problems
- Irregular heart rhythms
- Increased urination
- High blood pressure
Generally speaking, potassium plays an essential role in relaying messages from the brain to the muscles of the body and in regulating muscle contractions. Consequently, potassium deficiency can affect the entire range of muscles in the body. This role of potassium is the cause of many of the symptoms listed above.
For example, when the muscles of the intestines are adversely affected, the digestion of food can be slowed or disrupted, causing gastrointestinal complaints.
When the muscles of other parts of the body are not functioning properly, it can lead to generalized muscle weakness, cramping, and pain. And if an individual’s potassium levels fall too low, the disruption to the proper regulation of their muscle contractions can lead to complete muscle paralysis.
Similarly, since breathing uses numerous muscles surrounding the diaphragm, low potassium levels can adversely affect an individual’s ability to breathe properly.
Moreover, the heart is a muscle, and low potassium levels can lead to heart problems, including irregular heart rhythms.
Most of the symptoms mentioned above can and will cause fatigue.
A different role played by potassium is its ability to help balance sodium levels in the body. It is well known that high sodium levels are associated with high blood pressure. Consequently, potassium deficiency is a common cause of high blood pressure.
Finally, a potassium deficiency can disrupt the kidneys’ ability to balance fluid and electrolyte levels in the blood stream. This will lead to frequent urination, an attempt by the body to try to balance the body’s fluid levels.
Individuals experiencing any of the symptoms listed above should see their doctor and have their potassium levels checked. In most cases, a simple potassium supplement can relieve one’s symptoms and restore their vitality.
Atlantic Coast Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center, a beautiful nursing home and rehab center, is conveniently located in scenic Lakewood, NJ, close to major medical centers and just minutes from area highways.
Our registered dietician ensures that all meals conform to the individual dietary restrictions and requirements for every resident. And our master chef and staff of culinary experts make sure the food is delicious enough to please even the most discerning palates. Our meals are not only healthful and flavorful, they are also beautiful: elegantly served, using fine china and utensils.
Atlantic Coast is situated on beautifully landscaped grounds, and provides the comfortable and pleasant living experience that is essential to ensuring optimal clinical outcomes. We have strived to create an environment and program that truly enhances quality of life, thus promoting recuperation, health, and well-being.
Our modern facility features spacious living spaces that are impeccably decorated and furnished. Our residents are pampered with the finest amenities, including free WIFI, flat screen cable television and state-of-the-art mechanical beds for individualized comfort.
Our goal is to offer activities that stimulate both mind and body. We fashion each day’s recreation schedule with the primary purpose of encouraging social interaction and promoting physical health and fitness. To accommodate different interests and personal preferences, our Activities Director designs flexible schedules, with a variety of stimulating and engaging activity options.
Read our reviews on senioradvisor.com, caring.com, and wellness.com to hear what our residents and their families have to say.
Or better yet, come see for yourself: Contact us to schedule a tour by calling 732-364-7100, or by clicking here.
Leave a Comment