How To Quickly Boost Low Potassium More Effectively

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9 months ago

The health aspects of low potassium levels in the elderly

 

Potassium is an essential electrolyte necessary for maintaining many body functions. It is significant for aging loved ones as it regulates heartbeats and nerve functions. A sudden drop in levels or a deficiency of this electrolyte can lead to severe life-threatening conditions. We must get the required amount of it to maintain proper body functions. The adequate intake for both men and women, as given by the Linus Pauling Institute, is 4700 mg of potassium daily. Low levels of potassium are medically known as hypokalemia.

 

Low potassium levels and our elderly

 

As we age, our body undergoes a lot of physiological changes. The kidney functioning takes a back seat. Which significantly affects the various mechanisms that control the process of reabsorption. Furthermore, when kidney functioning gets involved, the urine output increases, which again causes the levels to drop. Among the various physiological changes. This can cause recurrent vomiting and diarrhea.

Several medical conditions, such as leukemia, magnesium deficiency, Crohn’s disease, or Cushing’s disease, can all cause the levels to drop. In Cushing syndrome, the kidneys can excrete a considerable amount of potassium. This is due to the adrenal glands’ overproduction of aldosterone.
Various medications, such as diuretics, antibiotics, laxatives, bronchodilators, insulin, theophyllines, and steroids, can all interfere with the body’s potassium absorption.

Other factors which can cause a deficiency

 

Alcohol consumption
Excessive consumption of licorice
Diabetic ketoacidosis
Deficiency of folic acid
Primary aldosteronism
Sweating profusely
Low levels of magnesium in the blood characterize Hypomagnesemia

Symptoms of potassium deficiency in the elderly

 

Hypokalemia is a common concern among the elderly population. A minor fall in potassium levels usually does not cause any symptoms. However, a significant decrease in serum levels can give rise to various symptoms. Symptoms of hypokalemia mimic other conditions and, therefore, may often go unnoticed. Consequently, caregivers must take particular note of the multiple signs and symptoms of the disease. Dealing with this day out and being careful to monitor the condition can cause strain on you as the caregiver.

 

The various symptoms of low levels include the following:

 

Excessive tiredness or fatigue are the primary signs of potassium deficiency.
Depression
Muscle cramps
Paraesthesia is characterized by a tingling sensation and numbness in the hands, feet, arms, and legs.
Sleeplessness
Difficulty in breathing can also be a significant symptom of potassium deficiency. Low levels in the blood can cause the lungs to contract and expand improperly, causing shortness of breath.
Bone damage
Slowed-paced heartbeats or abnormal heart rhythms may mainly occur if the elderly suffer from heart diseases. Moreover, severe potassium deficiency can also trigger irregular heartbeats.
Development of skin rashes
Muscle pain and stiffness
High blood glucose levels
Nervous disorders
Mental disorders have also contributed to low levels. In a study, it found that there was a high prevalence of hypokalemia in psychiatric patients.
Digestion issues, such as bloating as well as constipation. It plays an integral part in transmitting the signals from the brain to the muscles in the digestive tract to churn and digest food. However, this activity is seriously hampered when the level is far below average. Low levels disrupt the contractions in the digestive tract, lowering food movement through the lot.

Sources of potassium

 

Categorized under the essential minerals, as the body does not produce it. We must eat foods rich in this electrolyte to maintain adequate potassium levels. The primary food sources include the following:

Seafood (a serving of baked fish – 405 mg of potassium)
Poultry
Meat
Milk and dairy products
Soy products
Fruits include citrus fruits, avocados (medium-sized avocado – 975 mg). Bananas (a medium-sized banana contains 467 mg of potassium). Kiwi (per cup – 562 mg). Dried apricots (per cup provides 1511 mg). Squash, melons(one melon wedge offers 434 mg of potassium). Pomegranates (per cup – 411mg)
Vegetables such as potatoes, peas, tomatoes, spinach (1 cup cooked – 839 mg), sweet potato (1 large sized – 855mg)
Nonfat milk (a cup provides 407 mg of potassium)

Source: Infographic: What Foods Have Potassium?

Caring for a loved one with low potassium

Overseeing this can cause stress because you can’t be in 2 places simultaneously: taking care of your business and your loved one. Look into hiring some help. This will allow you to rest and ensure your loved one is properly cared for. Or maybe you want to spend more time with your loved one while taking a break from redundant business tasks like sending emails, returning calls, or organizing files. Let’s chat about how I can serve you so you can take care of your business and your loved ones.

Treatment of hypokalemia

Treatment of hypokalemia shouldn’t be a difficult job. Usually, supplements form the first line of treatment, along with treating the underlying cause. Accessories cannot be taken in a single large dose but several times a day in small dosages. Because when you take the supplements orally, it can trigger some form of irritation in the digestive tract, causing discomfort. Therefore, taking the supplement pills and meals several times daily is necessary.

In many cases, you may need to take potassium intravenously. However, this is done when the levels are deficient, interfering with the heart’s function and causing abnormal heart rhythms. In such cases, intravenous administration of potassium becomes necessary. Also, check out this post on leg cramps.

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Conclusion

Low potassium is terrible, but we can stay on track with the right foods. We all have to keep our loved ones healthy and happy. But you also need to monitor your loved one’s potassium levels. So use my tips and suggestions to keep your loved one’s levels healthy.

Let me know in the comments if this article was helpful for you and if you have experienced this situation with your loved one.

The post How To Quickly Boost Low Potassium More Effectively appeared first on The Caregiving Strategist.

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1 comments

  1. TJ

    This is such an important topic! My dad has been dealing with this at 83, while going through immunotherapy for cancer.

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Jordan M
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