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Potassium Gluconate

This is a potassium supplement useful in those prone to low blood potassium. Its side effects include numbness and tingling of the extremities, confusion, weakness, arrhythmia, ECG changes, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, GI ulcerations, GI bleeding, intestinal obstruction, and intestinal perforation.

Using potassium gluconate

1. Should not be used in cases of severe kidney disease, acute dehydration, or those who are using potassium sparing diuretics (e.g. spironolactone, triamterene).
2. Enteric coated potassium tablets cannot be recommended due to increased risk of GI bleeding and ulceration.
3. Minimize GI symptoms by taking this medication with food.

Adult and adolescent dose: oral, elixir, 10-20 mEq of potassium diluted in one-half glass of cold water or juice, two to four times a day; or 5-10 mEq potassium in tablet form, two to four times a day; dosage adjusted to need (up to 100 mEq potassium per day).

Hypokalemia

Low potassium level in the blood is referred to as hypokalemia. Potassium is an electrolyte that is essential to ensure the proper functioning of muscle and nerve cells, in particular the heart muscle cells. Potassium is a vital mineral in the body as it helps the muscles contract when required. Almost 98% of the potassium found in our body is present within the cells. The small levels present outside have a major influence in the functioning of the heart, muscles and nerves.


Normal potassium level in the blood is 3.6 to 5.2 millimoles per liter. Anything less than 2.5 millimoles per liter could indicate low level potassium in the blood. The condition may arise from reduced intake of potassium or from increased loss of potassium from the body.


Blood tests can confirm this condition in a person. Oral supplements or in severe cases, intravenous medication helps. In many cases oral supplements would do the needful; however this could lower the thyroid hormone levels and raise the potassium levels thus leading to paralysis of the body. A few patients may also experience irregular heartbeat which may turn fatal. The condition is more common in men and in women and occurs more often in elderly people.

Consuming a potassium rich diet by including food items like banana, carrots, bran, avocados, oranges, milk, spinach, wheat germ, peas and beans may help prevent the condition. Common causes include:


  • Chronic kidney failure, as kidney plays a vital role in removing excess potassium into the urine and maintaining proper balance of this mineral in the body.
  • Eating disorders like bulimia
  • Magnesium deficiency
  • Sweating excessively
  • Diarrhea
  • Excessive use of laxatives
  • Vomiting
  • Alcoholism
  • Use of insulin

Hypokalemia symptoms include nausea, abdominal pain, cramps, dehydration, frequent urination, palpitations and confusion.


Potassium

Potassium, classified as an electrolyte helps muscles and nervous systems to function normally. Potassium plays a key role in regulating acid-alkaline balance as well as electrical activity of the heart. Mild potassium deficiency or hypokalemia can result in high blood pressure. Dietary sources of potassium include broccoli, potatoes, green leafy vegetables, citrus fruits, bananas, dried fruits, legumes and peas and lima beans.

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Collection of Pages - Last revised Date: October 16, 2018