Signs of Low Potassium

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people living in the United States are not consuming enough potassium. In fact, it is estimated that less than 2% of people meet the daily nutritional requirement, which is 3,500–4,700 mg each day for adults.

This is concerning because potassium is essential in helping our bodies to function properly.   Our bodies need potassium to control the electrical activity of the heart, build protein, regulate water balance as well as acid-based balance in blood and tissue, maintain healthy nerve function and regulate blood pressure.

A diet rich in potassium is linked to several health benefits such as:

  • Reducing the risk of stroke
  • Preventing osteoporosis
  • Preventing kidney stones
  • Reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases

When our bodies have significantly low amounts of potassium, we may experience several tell-tale signs which include:

  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Problems with digestion
  • Constipation
  • Dizziness
  • Muscle cramps and spasms
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart palpitations
  • Tingling and numbness, typically in the arms, legs, hands, and feet
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Mood changes or mental fatigue

Eating foods that are rich in potassium is one of the best ways to improve intake.  Some foods that are an excellent source of this important mineral are:

  • Bananas
  • Green leafy vegetables such as spinach
  • Beets
  • White beans
  • Potatoes ( white and sweet potatoes)
  • Oranges
  • Avocados
  • Yogurt
  • Salmon

Low potassium levels may be the result of a deficiency in your diet or a more serious, underlying medical condition.  Talk to your doctor if you are experiencing signs that may indicate that you are deficient.  Your doctor may request a blood test to determine if your levels are low and the cause.

To schedule an appointment with a doctor at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, please call 718-206-7001.






All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.