March 9, 2010

Potassium Deficiency And Leg Cramps

Posted in Category : Bone, Joint & Muscles Disorders

Leg cramps are nothing but involuntary contractions of a group of muscles or a single muscle in the leg. These cramps can not only be painful but also very discomforting. These cramps are usually felt in the calf muscles, quadriceps and hamstrings. Leg cramps can happen to anyone irrespective of their age or any other health problems they suffer from. These cramps can last for a minute or more. These cramps usually cause severe leg pain and muscle tenderness. One might not be able to move the leg till the cramp lasts. A lot of people complain of leg cramps during the night or when in bed. Leg cramps can be caused due to a lot of factors such as dehydration, excess weight, leg injury, low blood calcium, pregnancy, nerve abnormalities, muscle diseases, rigorous exercise, diminished blood supply, muscle fatigue, side effects of certain medicines and even electrolyte, hormonal or fluid changes in the body. Low potassium levels in the body can also be a reason behind leg cramps.

How to prevent Leg Cramps?

Eating foods rich in potassium can help a lot in curing this problem. It is important that one has food which is rich in potassium and low in sodium. Bananas and raisins are a rich source of potassium. One banana contains 422 milligrams of potassium whereas one cup raisins contain 1086 milligrams of potassium. Banana has only 1 milligram of sodium in it whereas raisins have 40 milligrams of sodium. One cup of raisins, one banana, one third cup of spinach and some orange juice if had daily can help reduce leg cramps. Lima beans, plantains and artichokes are also rich in potassium. 1cup of lima beans contains 955 milligrams of potassium, 1 medium plantain contains 893 milligrams of potassium and 1 cup of artichokes contains 644 milligrams of potassium. Other foods containing potassium are papayas, tomatoes, oat bran mangoes, pears, cantaloupe, cucumber and tomatoes.

Causes of Potassium Deficiency

There are various reasons behind why one can have potassium deficiencies. One of the major reasons can be a poor diet and a diet with inadequate potassium rich foods. Also, people suffering from diabetes and kidney disorders can experience mineral imbalances. Potassium deficiencies can not only cause leg cramps but also other ailments such as hypokalemia, hypertension, high blood pressure problems, strokes and even heart irregularities. People having potassium deficiencies might find themselves experiencing overall weakness and constant fatigue. There might be trouble concentrating on daily tasks and also find difficulty in muscle coordination.