Who is at risk of potassium deficiency?
– Low potassium intake
Low potassium intake is not considering an important cause for potassium deficiency but can be happened in case of severe food deprivation like homeless people.
Pregnant and breastfeeding women are at higher risk because the nutritional demand of the infant increases potassium requirements, and may cause potassium deficiency when this is not prevented with supplements or by increasing potassium intake in food. In the first trimesters of pregnancy, there is an increase in vomiting prevalence, which may be another cause of potassium deficiency in cases of severe vomiting symptoms.
– Malabsorption and digestive system diseases
Patients with an intestinal disease that decreases potassium absorption such as celiac and Crohn’s diseases should consider potassium supplements, and these conditions must be treated to avoid potassium deficiency.
– Chronic diarrhea
Diarrhea increases potassium loss in the stools and also interferes with its absorption.
In chronic alcohol consumption, there is an increase in potassium execration in the urine. The downside of regular alcohol intake is chronic damage to the digestive system epithelium, leading to malabsorption of many nutrients, which includes potassium.
– Excess sweating
It causes a sudden drop in potassium levels, giving rise to acute potassium deficiency. This should be treated by increasing fluid intake, especially alkaline water, as it contains a good amount of potassium and other minerals that should be replenished in this condition.
It is an overlooked cause of potassium deficiency as decreasing magnesium levels in blood stimulates potassium efflux from the cells and increases its excretion in the urine.
Certain medications such as diuretics and laxatives may cause excessive potassium loss in the stool and urine.
– Kidney diseases
Patients with kidney diseases are at high risk of developing potassium deficiency because the kidneys are the organs responsible for electrolyte regulation and balance in blood.
It is a hormone responsible for electrolyte regulation which includes sodium, potassium, and chloride. Aldosterone hormone stimulates the execration of potassium in the urine, but in a healthy body, other hormones oppose this action and keep the electrolyte levels balanced. When aldosterone levels increase above their normal levels that will cause potassium deficiency.
Type 2 diabetes is associated with a low insulin level and insulin resistance. Low insulin levels will cause a decrease in potassium influx inside the cells and affect their normal functions.