Having low potassium in the bloodstream is also known as hypokalemia. Potassium helps keep the proper functioning of muscles and nerve cells, the heart, regulates blood pressure, etc. For this reason, maintaining a good potassium level in the body is crucial.
A person usually shows low potassium symptoms after excessive vomiting, diarrhea, malfunctioning adrenal glands or kidneys, taking diuretics or water pills and certain asthma medications. While it’s too rare to have hypokalemia by including less potassium in your diet, it’s possible. Consuming some types of tobacco and being a woman also increases risk of hypokalemia.
Other ways a person gets low potassium levels include sweating too much, excessive alcohol drinking, taking certain antibiotics, taking laxatives for a long time, and having diabetic ketoacidosis. Deficiencies in minerals like folic acid, and magnesium also lead to hypokalemia. The following syndromes are also linked to having low potassium: Cushing’s syndrome, Fanconi syndrome, Liddle syndrome, Gitelman syndrome, and Bartter syndrome.
Below are some of the symptoms of having low potassium levels in the body:
Tingling and Numbness
Although prolonged tingling and numbness are more typical in patients with high potassium levels or hyperkalemia, those with low potassium levels can also have these symptoms. This condition is called paresthesia or sensory loss and typically affects the arms, hands, feet, and legs.
The body needs potassium to maintain proper nerve function. Low blood levels weaken nerve signals, leading to tingling and numbness.
Declining potassium levels can disrupt the body’s electrical impulses transmitted from the skin and muscles to the spinal cord and brain. As a result, it affects how well your nerves work and causes a loss of feeling in your outer extremities.
While it is safe to have these low potassium symptoms on occasion — for example, if your foot falls asleep due to lack of activity or sitting in an uncomfortable position – recurrent tingles and numbness may indicate a more serious issue. It would be better to speak with a doctor if you experienced this. It is best not to ignore recurring tingling and numbness, as some people with severe deficiency in potassium experience paralysis.