Potassium is considered to be the most important mineral in the proper functioning of the body. It is crucial in maintaining a healthy heart, nutrient exchange in cells, and supports optimum kidney function. It also plays a very important role in safeguarding the body from the complications brought about by diabetes, hypoglycemia, and stabilizes high blood pressure too. Every muscle in the body benefits from potassium, especially the heart in which the mineral is very important in maintaining good cardiac conduction.
Hypokalemia or low serum potassium levels trigger the element sodium to invade the cells. These two minerals should have equal amounts in the body at all times. So you need to ensure that their levels are balanced through a balanced diet, healthy lifestyle, and if your doctor calls for it, blood work may be done to determine the serum levels of the minerals. You can get hypokalemia from medications like diuretics. These meds take away excess fluids in the body. Alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine intake in large amounts can also trigger the condition. Potassium deficiency causes constant fatigue even after a short nap, listlessness, constipation, flabby, weak muscle, insomnia, hypoglycemia and weak pulse.
Since the heart is a muscle, low levels of potassium in the body can cause irregular cardiac rhythms. If this goes on for a long time, your heart could completely stop. Too much potassium in the body can cause detrimental long-term effects to one’s health too. It impairs the adrenal function, targets the normal flora of the digestive tract; thus increasing stomach upset for people with hyperkalemia. In worse cases, tetany, muscle twitching, and listlessness can occur.
Prevent abnormal potassium levels in your system by consuming the right amount of potassium-rich foods like bananas, pomegranate, dark green leafy vegetables, and organ meats. Since potassium is abundant in so many food products, you may not need to take a supplement to ward off hypokalemia unless your doctor calls for it. Remember, everything in moderation is still the best thing that you could do for your body and well-being.