A person who has low potassium levels might be diagnosed with hypokalemia. Potassium is an important mineral that the body needs to work effectively. It helps the cells of the body get the proper amount of nutrients, allows your muscles to move, and also helps the nerves send signals throughout the body. If you have low potassium levels, it can cause many other health issues. Your heart is the most important user of potassium, and without enough of it, your blood pressure may go way up.
There are many reasons that you may develop low potassium levels. Most of the time, potassium will exit the body through the digestive tract. Low potassium levels or hypokalemia is always caused by an underlying illness and never develops independently. If your bloodwork comes back with low potassium levels, your doctor will look for the underlying cause. Here are 14 common causes of low potassium levels.
1. Specific Syndromes
Several syndromes might be the cause of a potassium deficiency. Two of the more common syndromes that cause low levels of potassium are Bartter syndrome and Cushing’s syndrome. Fanconi syndrome, Liddle Syndrome, and Gitelman syndrome are also common causes of low potassium levels.
People who are diagnosed with Cushing’s syndrome will develop a higher amount of cortisol in the body. This can encourage malignancies and may affect your weight. Bartter syndrome affects how salt is absorbed in the kidneys, and Fanconi syndrome is a type of anemia that is related closely to cancer.
Liddle syndrome will make the kidneys produce excess potassium, and this cannot be absorbed into the blood. At the same time, this syndrome will cause the body to retain sodium. Gitelman syndrome affects the kidneys and can cause further issues with low potassium levels. If you are diagnosed with any of these syndromes, low potassium levels can exacerbate the symptoms.