January 28, 2010

What Are The Side Effects Of Low Potassium Levels?

Posted in Category : Common Ailments

Potassium is a mineral that is absolutely necessary for the smooth functioning of the muscles and cells in our body. Apart from this, potassium also helps the body to convert glucose into glycogen, repair and build muscles, and monitor or if required regulate certain hormones that are there in our body. Potassium also works as a catalyst between several enzymes that are present inside our body. This way, potassium helps in creating and at the same time controlling several important chemical reactions within our body. Potassium is easily absorbed by our body and just as easily thrown out of our body through the kidney in the form of urine and through our bowel movements. As potassium is highly alkaline in nature, it helps our body to maintain its pH level as well as its water level. However, these are just some of its varied, side functions. Two of the most important functions that potassium performs are controlling the blood pressure and helping the cells to transfer nutrients within themselves. Apart from this, potassium also helps in controlling acne, fatigue, certain allergies, and kidney stones. It is therefore necessary that our diet is rich in potassium.

As potassium performs so many varied functions, the minute the level of potassium in our body decreases, our body starts undergoing changes which serve as excellent indicators that the potassium deficiency has started in our body. Our body gets easily fatigued, muscles start feeling weak, acnes start erupting, a general state of confusion and anxiety is experienced, skin starts getting dry leading to blisters and skin eruptions, memory becomes weak, sleep gets affected, digestive system starts getting sluggish leading to constipation, and sometimes even depression sets in. The decrease in the level of potassium could be due to insufficient amount of potassium in our daily diet, excessive removal of potassium through urine and bowel movements, and due to side effects of certain medicines. The best way to take care of this decrease in the level of potassium is to work on the reason first – that is, if the cause of potassium deficiency is due to excessive bowel movement or diarrhea, then that needs to be treated first. Then, the next step would be to work on a diet that will help to replenish the decreased level of potassium in the body. Some of the foods that contain a high level of potassium are peaches, oranges, watermelon, bananas, grapes, tomatoes, spinach, beans, potatoes, milk, eggs, cereals, and dried fruits such as dates, raisins, and apricots.