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How can I improve my potassium levels?

Q: What would be the implications if there is a low level (2.5) of potassium in one's body? Some doctors say that it must be above 4. What could be the remedies to overcome this problem? Can you please advise?

A:Potassium is one of the body's main electrolyte that is found within the cells. The kidney maintain its concentration and the blood level affects the functioning of the cardiovascular and neuromuscular systems. The normal blood level is 3.5-5 mEq/L. Low potassium level (hypokalaemia) occurs when potassium is less than 3.5 mEq/L. It is severe when levels are below 2.5 mEq/L. Patients present with symptoms of palpitations, muscle weakness or cramps, numbness/tingling, paralysis, colicky pain, nausea, vomiting, constipation and psychiatric symptoms. The common causes for it are diseases of the kidney, gastro-intestinal disorders like vomiting, diarrhoea etc., side effect of medicines like diuretics, steroids etc., and some metabolic disorders. Patients who have mild or moderate hypokalaemia (potassium of 2.5-3.5 mEq/L) usually have no symptoms and potassium can be given orally. If patients have cardiac problems, they require hospital admission and urgent treatment.

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