Hypokalemia is a medical condition which is characterized by a low concentration of potassium in the blood. Explore this article to discover the signs and symptoms of hypokalemia.
As far as blood goes, potassium plays a very important role in ensuring that the same stays well within the parameters of normalcy. Potassium is required in a certain quantity, anything lesser or more than normal can prove to be harmful. Hypokalemia is a condition that revolves around diminishing proportions of potassium in the blood. This condition is also known as ‘hypopotassemia’ or ‘hypokalaemia’. Here, the prefix ‘Hypo’ stands to signify ‘under’, while ‘kalium’ in Neo-Latin stands to signify ‘potassium’. Lastly, ‘emia’ stands to signify ‘condition of the blood’. For a person who is down with a disorder such as hypokalemia, the symptoms that are a direct result of the disorder are easy to notice. However, the symptoms can easily be mistaken for just another ailment as well. This is why it is a must to rush to the doctor to get yourself checked for hypokalemia. Read on to discover for yourself the signs and symptoms that exist for the disorder known as hypokalemia.
Signs And Symptoms Of Hypokalemia
Do your muscles feel weak all of a sudden? Well, maybe it’s because you are down with ‘hypokalemia’. Medically speaking, hypokalemia is known to result in weak muscles. Hypokalemia decreases potassium levels by increasing the depolarization time from nerve cell to nerve cell. If this issue transcends to more serious levels, the transmission of action messages can easily go haywire. This ultimately will result in generalized weakness of muscles, because the signals that are sent out to the muscles do not really fulfill their intended purpose.
People who are suffering from hypokalemia will generally drink more than normal quantities of water. When the levels of sodium and potassium are low in the blood, this automatically can lead to the need to drink water in quantities that can best be described as atypical. Drinking too much water in turn can lead to the need to urinate frequently which can then go on lead to an electrolyte imbalance. Symptoms that come with excessive thirst also include confusion and fatigue.
Not only can hypokalemia result in the need to drink water excessively, it strangely can also lead to anorexia. It’s like two ends of a rather large spectrum. On one hand, a patient may feel the need to drink way too much water and on the other may not even feel like eating as much food as he or she should be eating. While low levels of potassium can lead to anorexia, anorexia itself can lead to low levels of potassium. Here, it’s nothing but a double edged sword.
Reduced Tendon Reflexes
Severe motor weakness of the limbs is a common symptom of hypokalemia. However, hypokalemic paralysis is primarily a result of either ‘hypokalemic periodic paralysis’ (HPP) caused by an increase in the levels of potassium. Hypokalemic periodic paralysis can also be the direct result of non-HPP which can result in the frequent need to urinate, which in turn can result in the undue loss of potassium. All of this sums up to a force that ultimately tampers with tendon reflexes.
Hypokalemia is a condition in which levels of potassium in the blood are lowered and that’s something you know by now. Potassium plays a very important role in muscle function and the regulation of fluids in the body. It is this ‘regulation of fluids’ function that potassium performs that makes it so indispensable when it comes to the prevention of constipation.
Most people make the mistake of taking ‘hypokalemia’ too lightly. However, under no circumstance would it be right to take this disorder too lightly. Potassium is needed by the body in certain amounts and if this requirement is not adequately met, the body is only guaranteed to react adversely, no surprises there! As a person prone to ‘hypokalemia’, it is your duty to do everything that you can to keep the disorder at bay.
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