ZocdocAnswersWhat can I do to treat hypokalemia?

Question

What can I do to treat hypokalemia?

Hello...last night i was taken to the emergency room because my arms, hands, and face muscles were tingling and extremely tight and contracting. I could barely speak and i couldn't open my fists. The doc said i had low blood magnesium and low potassium levels. They gave me fluids through iv and a potassium pill...looked at my heart, did blood work. What can I do to ensure this doesn't happen again. I'm 27 year old male and this was a very scary experience for me. Thank you for any help.

Answer

I would suggest that you schedule an appointment with your primary care physician. It is hard for me to determine with any certainty whether or not your magnesium and potassium levels had anything to do with your symptoms as you would need to have particularly low levels in order to have those types of symptoms. I would also want to know what your calcium levels were as low calcium is more often associated with the type of symptoms that you had. Low potassium can be due to many different reasons, but assuming that you are otherwise healthy I would suspect that this was due to some type of dietary problem. Were you dieting recently? People that are on very strict diets can sometimes have electrolyte disturbances because of low intake of the right foods. This could also explain the low magnesium level. Simple dehydration can also cause this. If you just got done running a marathon or exercising vigorously, these electrolyte problems are not that unusual. If this was not the case, then I might consider sending off an aldosterone level as elevated aldosterone can also result in low potassium levels. Again, I would suggest that you schedule an appointment with your primary care physician for further evaluation of this problem. The two of you can discuss what happened and your diet and come up with a plan to help prevented in the future.

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