Risks of having low potassium levels in the body

potassium is a mineral essential for the health of people, due to its involvement in different functions of the organism . It is found in a wide variety of foods and the body requires this mineral for practically all its functioning.

As highlighted by the National Institute of United States health, potassium is important for the proper functioning of the heart, kidneys, muscle contraction and nerve transmission.

Thus, potassium is an essential nutritional element for elite athletes . This occurs because the body loses potassium and sodium through sweating when faced with certain intensity activities, causing a greater risk of cramp.

For this reason, many athletes during a long session duration, they usually incorporate good doses of potassium into the body to prevent ailments of this type.

Foods rich in potassium

The Potassium is a mineral that is obtained mainly through diet, although it can also be incorporated into the body through supplements. However, the ideal way to have optimal levels is with the consumption of certain foods.

Alimentos con potasio
Foods with potassium

These are some of the most important potassium food fruits:

  • Fruits: In this group, dried apricots, prunes, bananas or orange juices stand out:
  • Vegetables: Highlight acorn squash, potatoes, spinach, tomatoes or broccoli.
  • Lentils, red beans, soybeans.
  • Nuts.
  • Meat, poultry and fish .
  • Salt substitutes.

In addition, potassium is a mineral that is present as an ingredient in many of the foods that They are used as a substitute for salt.

What happens if I have a lack of pot asio

On many occasions, certain diets provide less potassium than the body actually requires. When this happens it can cause a state of deficiency of this mineral in the body.

In addition, it is also necessary to emphasize that certain groups of people are less likely to obtain sufficient amounts of potassium:

  • People with inflammatory bowel disease.
  • People who take certain types of medications, such as laxatives or some diuretics.

In this sense, having insufficient potassium levels can cause an increase in blood pressure, reduce calcium in the spindles and increase the risk of kidney stones.

Thus, the National Institute of Health of the United States establishes a table with the necessary dose of potassium that requires a person on a daily basis, depending on factors such as age and gender:

463 mg

Children from 1 to 3 years old

Adolescents of 14 to 14 years (children)

Pregnant adolescents

Stage in life Recommended amount
Babies up to 6 months of age
Babies 7 to 12 months 900 mg
2,000 mg
Children from 4 to 8 years old 2,300 mg
Children from 9 to 13 years 2,500 mg
Girls 9 to 13 years 2,300 mg
3,000 mg
Adolescents of 14 to 18 years (girls) 2, 300 mg
Adults older than 19 years (men) 3,300 mg
Adults older than 19 years (women)

2,600 mg
2,600 mg
Pregnant women 2,900 mg
Lactating adolescents

2,500 mg
Breastfeeding women 2,800 mg

In this sense, diarrhea, prolonged vomiting, abuse of laxatives, use of diuretics, excessive sweating, dialysis or use of certain medications can cause severe potassium deficiency.

When a situation of very low potassium concentrations in the blood occurs it is known as hypokalemia. Symptoms of this condition include tiredness, constipation, muscle weakness and indisposition.

In addition, severe hypokalemia can lead to increased urination, decreased brain function, high concentrations of sugar in blood, shortness of breath, irregular heartbeat, or muscle paralysis. From the National Institute of Health of the United States they point out that having excessively low levels of potassium can be life threatening.

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