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Hypopotasemia

When to Seek Medical Care

If you are having symptoms of low potassium, call your doctor. Without symptoms, you will not know you have low potassium levels until you have a routine blood test or an electrocardiogram (ECG, EKG).

Self-Care at Home

If you are monitoring low potassium levels, avoid long, strenuous physical activities because of sweat loss of potassium.

If dietary supplements, herbal supplements, diuretics (water pills), or laxatives are causing the patient's low potassium symptoms, have the patient avoid taking these products and consult the doctor. Never stop taking a prescribed medication without first consulting your doctor.

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Follow-up

Usually doctors recommend a certain dosage of potassium and arrange to have a repeat blood level taken 2-3 days later.

The doctor may consider switching to potassium-sparing diuretics (water pills) if the patient needs to continue taking diuretics for another condition

Prevention

A change in diet may be recommended if the patient is likely to develop low potassium levels. Examples of foods high in potassium include:

  • bananas,
  • tomatoes,
  • oranges,
  • cantaloupes, and
  • Peaches.

Do not overuse diuretics (water pills), and never use someone else's medicines.

If the patient it taking medication, ask the doctor how often electrolyte levels need to be checked.

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