10 Signs You Have A Potassium Deficiency (#5 – Who Knew?)

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Athletes know all too well about the importance of electrolytes for giving them optimal performance, but most of us who are not professional athletes don’t know just how important it is that our bodies have a consistent balance of electrolytes, including potassium, for our overall health and well-being.

Most of the potassium in our bodies resides in our cells. There is actually very little in the blood. However, even small fluctuations in our potassium levels can have severe consequences —  more than most people ever imagine.

You probably know that your body relies on electricity to function. Potassium supports proper electrical function and the transmission of signals. Without sufficient levels of potassium, our muscles either do not receive signals or the signals are slow in coming. When you consider the fact that your heart is also a muscle, the importance of potassium becomes clear.

Those who eat a healthy, balanced diet should have no problem consuming sufficient amounts of potassium; however, the truth is that most Americans don’t eat a healthy diet. This makes it quite easy to become low on this important mineral.

In addition to diet, there are other factors leading to low levels of potassium. Diuretics are used to remove excess fluids from the body, but excessive urination can lead to an electrolyte imbalance. The kidneys also play an important part when it comes to regulating electrolytes in the body. Kidney problems and weak kidney function can also lead to low potassium levels.

Excessive sweating or regular use of laxatives can affect our electrolyte levels and cause a potassium deficiency. And, as any mother knows, vomiting and diarrhea can also affect the levels of potassium in the body.  Although this is generally short-lived as potassium levels return to normal once the person starts eating and drinking again, for those with  prolonged illnesses, ensuring that they get sufficient levels of potassium is very important.

While we are taking about potassium, we need to put in a few words about magnesium. Some experts have estimated that between 68 to 80 percent of Americans do not get sufficient amounts of magnesium. When we are low on magnesium, the pumps that concentrate potassium inside our cells don’t work. This means that even if we take several potassium supplements, they will not reach our cells. This is why a good doctor will tell you to take a magnesium supplement if you are low on potassium.

Perhaps one of the biggest problems with a potassium deficiency is that the symptoms are mild, vague, and mimic other illnesses, so they are often overlooked or are misdiagnosed until the deficiency becomes severe.

Low levels of potassium are nothing to fool around with, and they can have life-threating consequences.

Become familiar with the top 10 signs of potassium deficiency.

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