Symptoms of Lack of Potassium

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Arm and Leg Cramps

  • The most common symptom of low potassium is an arm or leg cramp. Since the body needs potassium to contract it makes sense that without it your body could cramp up. If you find that your arms or legs are cramping more than usual or are cramping for no apparent reason (you didn't lift anything heavy) then you are probably suffering from low potassium levels. The best thing to do would is to get more potassium into your body. Eating a banana or a melon each day can help fix this problem.


  • In severe cases of low potassium levels vomiting can occur. In less severe cases a patient may just feel nauseated. This is because potassium is an important part of staying healthy and having a properly working GI system. There are so many diseases or conditions that are associated with nausea and vomiting that it is important that you seek your doctor's advice to determine the cause. In the meantime it doesn't hurt to eat potassium enriched foods such as tomatoes and cantaloupes.

Overly Tired or Weak

  • Any time your body is lacking a vitamin or mineral it needs to stay healthy it is going to get tired and weak. This is why it is so important that individuals take a multivitamin and exercise regularly. Patients who are suffering from low potassium levels will feel fatigued and will also be more weak. If low potassium is the cause this can clearly be seen on a blood test. If you are feeling weak and tired it could be several things so a blood test will need to be taken to confirm a deficiency in potassium.

Heart Palpitations

  • Your heart uses potassium to beat the way it is suppose to. The potassium also helps regulate the blood pressure. When your potassium levels are low you can begin to experience heart palpitations. These can show up on an EEG, which you need your doctor to order for you. You can also have them done at the hospital if you feel that you are having a severe attack. The doctors can evaluate the results and recommend the best way to get your potassium levels back up to where they should be.

Abdominal Cramps

  • Again, your body uses potassium to contract. When your body is kept from contracting like it is suppose to it can cramp up. Another part of your body that may experience cramps is the abdomen. These cramps can be minor or severe depending on the level of potassium deficiency. See your doctor so she can determine if you need to take a potassium supplement or if you need more emergency measures such as a potassium IV drip.

  • Photo Credit Mike Johnson

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