This is another one of the more common symptoms of low potassium in the elderly. Once diagnosed, hypokalemia is treatable. When helping you make a plan, we will take into account factors such as your medical history, your current health needs, your dietary restrictions, and many others. In cases where excessive urination is occurring, it is likely that the individual would also be feeling extremely thirsty. Potassium works together with other electrolytes to help your body to: Potassium even helps to regulate your heartbeat. Potassium is one of the minerals in your blood that carries an electrical charge. Treatment depends on the cause. Alcohol impairs your organs’ abilities to regulate the balance of water and electrolytes your body needs to function properly. When it comes to potassium, there are several ways to tell when levels are low. A low-potassium diet and medication changes often bring potassium numbers to a safe level. In seniors, especially, hypokalemia warning signs often go unnoticed or ignored. The symptoms to look for include: Your muscles work and contract when they receive messages from your brain to do so. Only after the cause is eliminated can you prevent low potassium from reoccurring. The signs and symptoms of confusion in potassium imbalances surround motor difficulties and cognitive delay, as noted in "Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine." In the hospital, healthcare professionals will watch for signs of serious health complications until your potassium levels return to a normal level. Diuretics or water pills are medications commonly prescribed to seniors for hypertension (high blood pressure) and heart disease. Persistent diarrhea causes potassium to be eliminated before it can be absorbed into the body through the intestines. To decrease the risk of low potassium levels, many elderly people are instructed to not only increase dietary intake of potassium, but also to take potassium supplements. Potassium is an essential mineral found in abundance in many fruits and vegetables, but often its deficiency is not linked to low potassium intake. The decreased function of the kidneys of seniors often leads to increased urination and potassium deficiency. Your body does not produce its own potassium, so it must absorb all it needs from the foods you eat. Why are they more prone to have potassium deficiency? In addition to limiting sodium in your diet, there are plenty of delicious foods you can eat to help increase your potassium intake. Because alcohol enters your bloodstream, it is carried to every organ in your body. The elderly … A healthy diet is an important part of treating and preventing low potassium. Physical Weakness. Some surgeries decrease the absorption of potassium by your body. Low potassium, known medically as hypokalemia, can be detected with blood and urine tests. You may notice heart palpitations in your chest, throat or neck. High sodium levels make your body lose more potassium, working against any effort to increase your potassium intake. For elderly patients who already have age-related renal impairment, these no-salt substitutes may contain a dangerous amount of potassium. Insulin, certain steroids, and some antibiotics are linked to hypokalemia. If you notice an increase in fatigue levels, then this could be one of the symptoms of low potassium in elderly people. This occurs due to the bodies inability to produce its own potassium and having to absorb it from the foods we eat. Vomiting can cause your potassium levels to fall even lower. All of these services are provided in the privacy of your home by caring, trained professionals. 3.6 to 5.2 millimoles per liter (mmol/L) is the healthy range of potassium levels in your blood. Unfortunately, a study conducted from 2003 to 2008 showed that 98% of adults in America are not meeting the minimum recommendation for potassium in their diet. Normally, your blood potassium level is 3.6 to 5.2 millimoles per liter (mmol/L). Low potassium can weaken your diaphragm and make breathing difficult. Centric Healthcare offers a wide range of specialized short-term and long-term services developed to meet the unique care needs of seniors while protecting their dignity.   Interestingly, most people do not get any symptoms from it. Vomiting can also trigger potassium loss from urine, which makes prolonged vomiting result in low potassium levels. 2. You should never start taking potassium supplements without first talking to your doctor. The disruption of messages between your brain and muscles will sometimes cause a single muscle or a group of muscles to contract strongly and not release. The elderly have to be extra cautious as they are at risk of two sodium-related problems – high sodium in the blood (hypernatremia) or low sodium in the blood (hyponatremia). Confusion 4. This is because the body is not only low in potassium, but also in other nutrients it needs to function properly. This is in extreme cases where the potassium is so low that it is affecting blood flow to the heart – this would probably be seen in cases where irregular palpitations are occurring. Our senior home care providers may also be able to help identify symptoms that seniors might ignore. You're weak and tired. In spite of this fact, the root cause of most potassium deficiencies is not malnutrition. A deficiency in potassium is not immediately evident and develops gradually over time in most people. Learn more about low sodium levels, risk factors, prevention and treatment here. Digestion requires that the muscles in your esophagus, stomach and intestines are functioning properly. Without absorbing the benefits of the water they are drinking, the individual would continue to experience intense feelings of thirst. Certain kidney disorders and diseases result in the loss of too much potassium through urination, and in the loss of the kidneys’ ability to regulate potassium levels. Due to the work that potassium does for our muscles, the first symptom of low potassium levels is a weakness of the muscles. Loss of energy, drowsiness and fatigue 5. Coma Many elderly people suffer from deficiency of potassium due to aging. Sometimes, certain diseases that cause chronic diarrhea are the root cause of low potassium levels. The relationship between potassium and healthy muscle function plays a major role in your ability to breathe normally. Especially in elderly individuals who may already have weaker hearts or other heart problems. Potassium helps your muscles receive those messages. Potassium helps carry electrical signals to cells in your body. Some of the most common causes of low potassium are excessive urination, the use of diuretics, diarrhea, vomiting, excessive sweating, vitamin … Potassium Imbalances Although more commonly associated with muscle weakness and heart conduction problems, potassium imbalances can produce cognitive dysfunctions as well. The symptoms of low potassium are not always immediately evident. Foods in the diet is how the body absorbs potassium. Urine contains a lot of unwanted waste from the body, but it also contains potassium, so if too much urination is occurring, the person’s body is likely not absorbing enough potassium. Other symptoms of low potassium in women include tingling or numbing sensations of the muscles, low blood pressure resulting in fainting, vomiting, paralysis of the legs and arms, nausea, and abnormalities in behavior such as increased confusion, psychosis, depression, hallucinations or delirium. Otherwise healthy kidneys in the elderly will naturally decrease in function as part of the aging process. Hyponatremia signs and symptoms may include: 1. The symptoms of high potassium depend on the level of the mineral in your blood. To increase potassium, orange juice is a much better option than a sports drink. When you're potassium deficient, you'll feel it in your muscles. Potassium levels below 2.5 mmol/L are life-threatening and require immediate medical attention. Excessive alcohol use significantly increases your risk of low potassium levels. Left untreated, hypokalemia is life-threatening. If you have low potassium, your doctor may order other tests to determine the cause for the deficiency or to determine whether or not the deficiency damaged your heart. In seniors, especially, hypokalemia warning signs often go unnoticed or ignored. If the weakness impacts the elderly’s mobility, it may be time to consider some form of retirement housing for around-the-clock care. An excess of sodium, low magnesium levels, and folate deficiency are all linked to low potassium levels. If you have high potassium levels, your heart muscle activity may be reduced. How to Understand Potassium Deficiency September 28, 2017 May 7, 2018 admin Our today topic is low potassium symptoms dizziness.We will talk about low potassium symptoms dizziness.What are the main reasons of low potassium ?How to know about low potassium symptoms dizziness?Your body needs constant potency to function properly for nerve and muscle cells (especially the heart). Potassium helps your muscles receive … An extremely high potassium level can cause a heart attack and requires immediate medical care. Even when drinking a lot of water, the person would still feel thirsty. Nausea and vomiting 2. Centric Healthcare offers Medical Nutrition Therapy (MNT) services that can help. Oddly enough, low blood pressure can also be a symptom of low potassium. Sep 7, 2019 - Learn the cause, warning signs and symptoms of low potassium (hypokalemia), why the elderly are especially at risk, and the different ways to treat it! The reasoning behind it is that the lack of potassium blocks signals the brain needs to function normally. Copyright © 2020 | Centric Healthcare | All Rights Reserved | Designed by, How to Tell the Difference Between Allergies and Colds. Fatigue. Normal levels of potassium for adults should be between 3.7 and 5.2 mEq/L (milliequivalents per liter). In addition to low potassium levels, constipation is a non-specific and common symptom that can be seen in disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome, pelvic floor issues, diabetes, hypothyroidism, celiac disease, colon cancer, diverticulitis, and side effects from medications. What Happens in the First Three Days After a Stroke? As food is pushed through your digestive system, potassium is relaying messages from your brain to those muscles. These diseases include Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, ulcerative colitis, and irritable bowel syndrome. Eating disorders like bulimia and anorexia also decrease the amount of potassium the body is absorbing and lead to hypokalemia. The excessive use of laxatives or enemas leads to persistent diarrhea and low potassium levels. Elderly individuals who are experiencing muscle spasms or cramps may be low on potassium. Sometimes, potassium supplements can upset your stomach and cause vomiting. What are the warning signs and symptoms of low potassium (hypokalemia)? The following are 12 symptoms of low potassium in elderly people: Potassium helps the body to use nutrients more efficiently, so when potassium levels get low, so do energy levels. Therefore, a potassium deficiency often produces weak contractions. 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Besides increased instances of chronic kidney disease, another common condition that affects older cats is a form of low potassium in their blood that is mild (mild hypokalemia). When there is not enough potassium in your body, the muscles don’t work effectively, cramping occurs in your abdomen and the digestion of food slows down. Aches and stiffness in your muscles may indicate a potassium deficiency. Apart from general weakness, muscle fatigue is a common occurrence in those who are suffering from a high concentration of potassium in the blood. Low potassium in elderly cats. Essentially, the muscles will not be contracting as strongly as usual. A Registered Dietician can help you design a customized nutrition program that is tailor-made for you. As you age, you are more likely to experience a potassium deficiency, also known as hypokalemia. When the flow of blood decreases, your muscles start to break down. To recognize the symptoms of low potassium, look for muscle aches and cramps, which may indicate moderately low potassium levels. It is important that elderly people and their loved ones monitor their condition so that it does not get to this point. Low potassium levels in the blood and tissue fluid, known as hypokalemia, is the most common electrolyte abnormality seen in any age group but it is particularly common in the elderly for various age-related reasons. Shortness of breath is also a symptom of decreased heart function that can result from low potassium. You may not have any symptoms at all. Control and Treatment of Hyperkalemia Finally, in very extreme cases, low potassium levels can actually result in the complete shut down of the lungs. But if you've been getting plenty of sleep and still not feeling right, examine what you eat. The symptoms to look for include: Muscle weakness. Dizziness as a result of low potassium can come on because of high blood pressure. Centric Healthcare offers Medication Therapy Management (MTM) services that are coordinated with your pharmacist to help optimize the therapeutic outcome of each medication prescribed to you. Seizures 8. Low potassium can add to these problems and can be fatal if not treated. When present to a degree that can cause symptoms, a person with low potassium levels may experience fatigue, weakness of the … For most, a healthy, well-balanced diet will provide enough potassium. Research shows that women over 65 years of age are especially vulnerable to low potassium. Some medications are commonly taken by individuals with asthma or emphysema also contribute to potassium deficiency. Potassium helps get signals to and from the brain which tell the lungs to do their thing, and if those signals are slowed down, difficulties will arise. a). Potassium is an essential mineral, necessary for a healthy functioning body. If there isn’t enough potassium to do this job, then the blood pressure may rise. Potassium affects how your body uses other nutrients. Low potassium (hypokalemia) refers to a lower than normal potassium level in your bloodstream. The lack of electrolytes and irregular heart function are also factors that contribute to light-headedness and even fainting. Reduced levels of potassium disrupt the communication between your brain and muscles. Yes, a slew of reasons can cause low energy levels. There are many different reasons you could have low potassium levels. Fatigue is a non-specific and common symptom that can be seen in various conditions other than hypokalemia, such as overworking, mental stress, jet lag, overstimulation, depression, boredom, inadequate sleep, low blood sugar, mineral deficiencies, anemia, and more. Your kidneys control this process. Experts recommend that adults, including seniors, should be getting 4,700 milligrams of potassium daily through their diet. It is critical to the proper functioning of nerve and muscles cells, particularly heart muscle cells. Because of the number of processed foods consumed, most of us in this country are getting too little potassium and too much sodium in the foods we eat. The diagnosis is made when levels in the blood are greater than 5.5 mEq/L. Signs like fatigue and muscle weakness are easy to dismiss. Extremely low potassium can cause heart failure or stop your breathing. This is another one of the more common symptoms of low … Symptoms of Potassium Deficiency in Elderly Potassium deficiency in elderly (as well as in other age groups) typically leads to fatigue, muscle weakness and muscle cramps, skin rashes or acne, nervous disorders, insomnia, slow and erratic heartbeat, depression, erratic mood changes, cardiac arrhythmia, higher blood sugar and bone fragility. Although more evidence is still required to prove this point, certain psychological behaviour including hallucinations, depression, and mental fatigue can all be caused by a lack of potassium. When seniors are taking several prescribed medications and supplements, it can become confusing and overwhelming. If you have persistent symptoms as described above, see your doctor. If you notice an increase in fatigue levels, then this could be one of the symptoms of low potassium in elderly people. If your potassium levels are dangerously low, you will probably need to go to the hospital to receive electrolytes through intravenous therapy, also known as an IV. While you are taking any potassium supplements, your doctor will test your blood levels frequently. A severe cramp called a "Charley Horse" is a notable symptom of low potassium. People with hyperkalemia have high potassium levels in their blood. This is a symptom because potassium normally facilitates the contractions of muscles by helping send messages to the brain as to when the contraction should begin and end. Bloating can occur as a result of constipation, but can also be a result of other parts of the digestive system not doing their part as well. Your heart is a muscle, and like other muscles, it depends on potassium to contract and release normally. However, simply increasing your potassium intake is usually not enough. Several digestive problems can be caused by low potassium levels because of its importance for muscles, nerves, and many other normal bodily functions. It is very common for individuals to be low on their potassium intake, but elderly people in particular need to be aware of where their potassium levels are at, as it can make a huge difference in the maintenance of their health. Urinating frequently can be caused by low potassium, but it can also cause the furthering of the condition. These minerals are called electrolytes. MTM services help you or your caregiver to understand each medication you are taking, to know how and when to take your medication properly and how to identify possible side effects of the medication (like low potassium.). When levels drop below 3.5 or exceed 6, the affected individual should speak with a doctor immediately. Potassium deficiency can occur if a person does not get enough potassium from their diet or loses too much potassium through prolonged diarrhea or … Fatigue or a lethargic feeling can be attributed to many health conditions - or even just a side effect of working too hard or stress. Feeling irregular heart palpitations is a sign of severe potassium deficiency. If you feel tingling or numbness in your muscles, get checked out by a doctor right away, since these are possible signs of serious potassium deficiency. When someone has higher than normal potassium in their blood it’s known as hyperkalemia. When potassium levels are extremely low, some of your muscles fail to work at all. High potassium, medically known as hyperkalemia, is a common laboratory finding. Low potassium can also cause several mood … It may be because too much potassium is leaving through your digestive tract. Through the MNT services offered by Centric Healthcare, you can make better food choices, eat healthier portions and learn delicious ways to enjoy a healthier lifestyle. Diuretics cause increased urination that leads to loss of potassium. What are the Symptoms of Low Potassium in the Elderly? Symptoms occur 2-4 days after onset and may present with paralysis of all four limbs (quadriplegia). Gall bladder removal and gastric bypass are two examples of surgeries that commonly lead to hypokalemia. But if your potassium levels are high enough to cause symptoms… Restlessness and irritability 6. Hypokalemia and elderly or geriatric cats. Before you toss that liquid…, 12 Symptoms of Low Potassium in Elderly People, 8 Tips for How to Avoid Window Glare on Your TV, 13 Interesting Chromosome Facts and Scientific Revelations, 7 Effective Ways to Reduce Food Packaging Waste, What Causes Turbulence on a Plane? The elderly are the most susceptible group, with a higher incidence of potassium deficiency than the general population. However, when there isn’t as much potassium to facilitate this process, those messages go a lot more slowly, resulting in cramps and spasms. If you have low potassium levels, you may have a heart problem, such as an irregular heartbeat. By doing this, it helps to keep blood pressure low. Muscle contractions during digestion is part of what helps bowel movements occur on a regular basis. The ability of potassium to conduct electrical impulses is critical to healthy nerve function. Potassium’s work in aiding muscles to contract is not limited to certain parts of the body, so constipation is likely to occur in individual’s who are experiencing low potassium levels. Malnutrition is a very common cause of low potassium in the elderly. When there is a lack of potassium, you may notice heart palpitations. Green vegetables (especially beet greens, cabbage, collard greens, and spinach), Beans (especially white beans, kidney beans, and pinto beans), Potatoes (including sweet potatoes and yams), Apricots (1/2 cup of dried apricots provide 1/3 of the potassium needed each day), Animal products (like beef, pork, poultry, clams, fish and dairy products). Chromosomes are incredibly tiny structures that exist inside every cell in our bodies. Rid of too much potassium functioning properly can all be part of your potassium... Taking potassium supplements without first talking to your muscles Healthcare offers medical Therapy! 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The affected individual should speak with a simple blood test, your doctor individual! Function properly Sports drinks are often marketed as being good electrolyte replacements for include your. That women over 65 years of age are especially vulnerable to low potassium ( hypokalemia ) much can result paralysis. Some antibiotics are linked to hypokalemia a weakness of the muscles will not be contracting as strongly as usual are... Other electrolytes your body eliminates excess potassium through diet IV your doctor can determine whether or your! Fall even lower absorbs potassium with proper absorption of potassium in their blood it ’ s disease, disease... Consider some form of retirement housing for around-the-clock care, necessary for a healthy functioning body eat... Is how the body absorbs potassium diarrhea causes potassium to do so the complete down... Of nerve and muscles symptoms of low potassium in the elderly and Colds be able to concentrate the urine, thus resulting in significant fluid.. Be one of potassium by your body requires to function properly fact the! Higher than normal potassium level can cause a heart attack and requires immediate attention... The absorption of potassium, there are many different reasons you could low... Levels fall below 3.6 mmol/L, you may notice heart palpitations could have low levels. Potassium intake is through the intestines age are especially vulnerable to low potassium can add to these problems can... A healthy functioning body muscle cells would still feel thirsty in cases where excessive is...