Hypokalemia is a low level of potassium in the blood. Potassium is a mineral. It helps the heart, kidneys, and other organs to work well. Low levels can lead to problems with nerves and muscles. It can also cause an irregular heart rate.
Potassium enters the body through food and digestion. It passes out of the blood through the kidneys. Hypokalemia occurs when the body does not absorb enough potassium. This can happen when the kidneys remove too much of it. It can also happen when it moves from the blood into the cells.
Things that may raise the risk of this problem are:
Taking certain medicines, such as diuretics or beta-2-adrenergenic agonists
Hypokalemia. NORD—National Organization for Rare Disorders website. Available at: https://rarediseases.org/rare-diseases/hypokalemia. Accessed January 6, 2021.
Hypokalemia—approach to the patient. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:https://www.dynamed.com/condition/hypokalemia-approach-to-the-patient .Accessed Januray 6, 2021.
Tinawi M. Hypokalemia: a practical approach to diagnosis and treatment. Archives of Clinical and Biomedical Research 4 (2020): 048-066.
Last reviewed February 2020 by
EBSCO Medical Review Board
Marcin Chwistek, MD
Last Updated: 1/6/2021
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