Potassium Deficiency

Dr. Anurag Shahi (AIIMS)MBBS,MD

December 14, 2018

March 06, 2020

Potassium Deficiency
Potassium Deficiency

What is potassium deficiency?

Potassium deficiency is a rare condition, which is medically known as hypokalaemia. In this condition, there is a deficiency of potassium in the body producing specific signs and symptoms.

What are its main signs and symptoms?

The first and the most common symptom of potassium deficiency is a generalised weakness in the whole body and fatigue. Other particular symptoms of this deficiency are as follows:

  • A problem in food digestion.
  • Muscle cramps and stiffness.
  • Palpitation (a notably rapid, irregular and loud heartbeat).
  • Difficulty in breathing.
  • Numbness or tingling in the limbs.

What are the main causes?

There are many medical conditions and drug side effects which can result in potassium deficiency. Some of the causes are listed below:

How is it diagnosed and treated?

On presenting with the above-mentioned symptoms, the physician may order a few tests, such as a blood test, which can show the levels of potassium, calcium, and other minerals in the bloodstream.

In the case of irregular heart rhythms, an electrocardiogram (ECG) may also be suggested, as a potassium deficiency can affect the heart rate.

The treatment for this condition is easy and shows rapid improvement in symptoms. Based on the condition of the person and the presenting symptoms, the doctor will suggest various medications. If the potassium content in the bloodstream is not dangerously low, then the physician will prescribe certain pills or syrup with potassium salts to restore the potassium balance.

If the case is severe and the person is suffering from palpitations, he/she is put on an intravenous (IV or through the vein) supplementation of potassium.

Alcohol consumption should be kept to a minimum to avoid risks of developing potassium deficiency and a balanced diet should be followed.


  1. A Tabasum et al. A man with a worrying potassium deficiency . Endocrinol Diabetes Metab Case Rep. 2014; 2014: 130067. PMID: 24683481
  2. National Institutes of Health; Office of Dietary Supplements. [Internet]. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services; Potassium.
  3. MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia: US National Library of Medicine; Potassium
  4. Center for Disease Control and Prevention [internet], Atlanta (GA): US Department of Health and Human Services; The Role of Potassium and Sodium in Your Diet
  5. healthdirect Australia. Potassium. Australian government: Department of Health
  6. Weaver CM et al. Potassium and health. Adv Nutr. 2013 May 1;4(3):368S-77S. PMID: 23674806
  7. Michael S. Stone, Lisa Martyn, Connie M. Weaver. Potassium Intake, Bioavailability, Hypertension, and Glucose Control. Nutrients. 2016 Jul; 8(7): 444. PMID: 27455317

Doctors for Potassium Deficiency

Dr. Narayanan N K Dr. Narayanan N K Endocrinology
16 Years of Experience
Dr. Tanmay Bharani Dr. Tanmay Bharani Endocrinology
15 Years of Experience
Dr. Sunil Kumar Mishra Dr. Sunil Kumar Mishra Endocrinology
23 Years of Experience
Dr. Parjeet Kaur Dr. Parjeet Kaur Endocrinology
19 Years of Experience
Consult a Doctor

Medicines for Potassium Deficiency

Medicines listed below are available for Potassium Deficiency. Please note that you should not take any medicines without doctor consultation. Taking any medicine without doctor's consultation can cause serious problems.

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