7 Symptoms of Low Potassium (Listen to Your Body)

Knowing the signs of low potassium is important so that you can cover any shortages and get back on track without any major complications. Potassium is used by each cell in the body, and it’s important to get enough of it each day.

Here are the symptoms that your potassium is getting low and you’re running the risk of a potassium deficiency.

Symptoms that you may not be getting enough potassium in your diet…


1. General Fatigue

One of the most common low potassium symptoms is a general feeling of fatigue. This would be fatigue that is not brought on by overexertion, but that emcompasses the whole body with no explainable reason.

Fatigue is a symptom that is shared by several different conditions, so it’s best to consult with your doctor if you’re experiencing chronic fatigue.

They’ll be able to drill down to the real cause of the problem, and cross off anything more serious than low potassium levels.

Getting More Potassium: This is where a balanced diet factors in, because when you’re eating a variety of foods rich in potassium, you’ll also be getting an assortment of vitamins and minerals that will give you energy rather than leaving you feeling worn down.

2. High Blood Pressure

If you’ve noticed that your blood pressure isn’t where it should be, or if your doctor has told you to watch your blood pressure, consider taking in more potassium.

When you’re getting the right amount of potassium your blood pressure should come down, all else being equal. There are so many factors that contribute to high blood pressure that your best course of action is to have your doctor determine what is causing the problem.

high blood pressure

Getting More Potassium: Eating foods that not only contain potassium, but also fiber is a great way to help your blood pressure numbers. Both potassium and fiber help with blood pressure, so fruits and vegetables are your best bet at getting your numbers down to healthy levels.

3. Heart Palpitations

heart symptomLow potassium levels can cause a few different symptoms with your heart, like an irregular heartbeat rhythm and heart palpitations. These can range in severity from very slight to very noticeable, so you’ll want to keep a close eye on the frequency and adjust your diet accordingly.

Making sure you have enough potassium in your diet not only removes these heart-related symptoms, but helps protect your heart from heart disease including heart attack and stroke. That’s why this mineral is so important, and one that you’ll want to stay stocked up on.

Getting More Potassium: Eating fruits high in potassium is the best idea to not only avoid heart palpitations and other symptoms, but you’ll be helping your cardiovascular system even more because of the antioxidants fruit contains.

4. Muscle Weakness and Damage

When checking for symptoms of low potassium it’s best to focus on your muscles and how they’re feeling. If they feel weak and tired, or if they’re painful due to a strain or tear, it may be because you’re not getting enough potassium.

Potassium helps your muscles heal on a cellular level, and if you’re not getting enough it leaves them susceptible to these symptoms.

Getting More Potassium: Strong and useful muscles are worth the effort it takes to address your potassium needs each day. Have a daily banana, and work avocado into your meals, even eating it straight up as a snack. These are two delicious ways to insure that you’re potassium intake is adequate.

5. Tingling Sensation

arm tinglingLow potassium can lead to a tingling and numbness, which can be a subtle sign that often goes overlooked. If you find that you are having tingling in the arms and legs, along with another symptom on this list, you’ll definitely want to attend to your potassium intake.

This tingling sensation can also be caused by too much potassium, so it’s important to have a good idea of how much potassium you’ve been taking in, to differentiate between the signs of a potassium shortage or overload.

Getting More Potassium: Don’t try to compensate for a potassium shortage all in one day. Make a conscious effort to gradually increase the amount of potassium-filled foods each day until you are getting the recommended value.

6. Constipation

This is one sign of low potassium that you’ll have to be careful with. Constipation can be caused by a number of problems, and it could mean you’re running low on fiber, getting too much fiber, you have a shortage of potassium, and many other potential causes.

constipation from low potassium

Use potassium as part of an overall strategy to reduce the number of constipation occurrences you have, and talk with your doctor if dietary changes don’t produce the desired effect.

Getting More Potassium: Eating more potassium isn’t going to fix your current bout of constipation, but making sure you’re at least coming close to the daily recommended value will help prevent constipation that’s caused by low potassium. Focus on fruits and vegetables, as these will also contain insoluble and soluble fiber to help make sure you stay regular.

7. Dizziness

One symptoms that is reported from those with low potassium is dizziness or vertigo. This likely means that your potassium levels are very low, and you should make it a point to stop and eat a piece of fruit high in potassium, like a banana or avocado.

When you feel dizzy, be sure to get as low to the ground as possible to minimize the damage in case you faint. If this symptom persists even after an increase in potassium, see your doctor to determine the cause.

Getting More Potassium: It’s better to get your potassium from whole food sources like fruits, vegetables, and other foods high in potassium, than from a supplement. The body is better able to use up natural sources of potassium than synthetic, and it’s best to fill up your reserves throughout the day, not all at once.

P.S. Take a look at the 5 veggies that boost female metabolism and burn off lower belly fat.

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24 Comments

  1. Kelly says:

    I have high blood pressure and I need to know wat good foods r good for me

    • Darla says:

      There are many fruits, and vegetables good for helping regulate blood pressure to normal levels, along with exercise, and a healthy life style. Minimizing your daily sodium intake is also important. Bananas, avocados, fish, and beans are just a few choices to add to your shopping food list for keeping your pressure lower. The Dash Diet is another good way to start lowering your BP. Check with your doctor first about any diet you choose to begin.

  2. Sheila Powers says:

    Hi, I’ve been on Lasix and Diazide since I was 29, 22 years now. I’ve been hospitalized twice for Hypokylemia that came on suddenly, both times when it was exceptionally cold during the winter a few years ago. In the last few weeks my body has began to really ache from my feet to my hands, neck, back, legs more each day, yesterday and today it was difficult to walk, stand, move, drive but I can still manage, not like when it came on suddenly. Also, my right eye gets really droopy and heavy at night and blurs in and out which is bizarre to me because my left one is fine. I was chalking it all up to part of the aging process but the last 2 says it’s really accelerated. I have no other health issues, I’m fit, I excercise, I eat organic and juice, I take Epsom salt baths which actually help a lot but only for a few hours. I just had a physical from my Dr and she says all my years came back perfect, so what the heck is going on?? It just dawned in me that it feels similar to the past hypokalemia hours but not as sudden ir severe. Help!! I don’t want to go back to my Dr and lol like a hypochondriac when the symptoms seem to be so vague yet excruciating painful.

    • Sheila Powers says:

      Sorry, auto correct on my phone hates me, I hope you can make sense out of the mistakes above.

      • Kim H says:

        Reply 2 of 2…Hi, Shelia, albeit late, I replied to your questions regarding water pills and your all over muscle/body aches and eye problems. I don’t know how this blog works, but I just wanted to let you know I replied first under Elsimone…so not sure you will/will not get notification of that. I also have the all over muscle pain, it’s so bad that I have broken several toilet seats because I can’t lower myself and fall. I have had some relief from injections from a fantastic Pain Doctor (Anesthesiologist). I hope by now you’ve found some answers, I sincerely “feel” your pain and would love to hear how you are doing. P.S. Low potassium is a serious health concern as it can cause all kinds of heart problems, not just palpitations, as well as many other serious health concerns, so please seek a great Doc who specializes in Cardiology, and that will work with your other Physcians to be safe!

    • Bob says:

      Hi there. I had similar situation. For me fish oil supplement, and high dose of b12 in methylcobalamin form helped me alot. I leave 5000mcg b12 in mouth for 15 to 35 minutes Before swallowing to absorb as much as possible. Absorb through mouth under tounge because the stomach kills it. I later added metafolin which is the registered trademark name for a patented form of folate supplement made by merk. It’s believed that regular folic acid supplement can icreases chances of different cancers (i.e. Prostate cancer) as the body must covert it before its in the usable form. Metafolin® ((6S)-5-methyltetrahydrofolic acid, calcium salt or L-methylfolate) is already in usable form. It is the pure stable crystalline form of the naturally-occurring form of folate. Metafolin has no risk of an accumulation of unmodified folic acid in the body. The solgars vitamin company sells this form of folate, on many websites. Piping rock is the cheapest company iv’e found that sells it. One problem with this supplement is that it some how increases the bodies demand of potassium. First day of this supplement at a high dose and i felt great. Next day not so great till i found i needed to drastically increase potassium intake well using it. I later added 50 mcg of vitamin d daily which made a difference, and low dose b6 which i’m not sure helped. I’ve also noticed adding lemon water to juice provides slight relief from some symptoms. I’ve had my blood work done and by blood is not deficient in these vitamins, but this does not mean an increase of them can’t provide benefit. I am not recommending for you to use any of these things. They help me a lot but the cause of you’re problems is likely completely different than mine, so these things might not help you. Also if you have any undiagnosed medical condition anything you use to treat it your self may delay diagnosis, and hide symptoms, but if doctors won’t attempt to help because they think you’re imagining things sometimes people need to try things.

    • Kim H. says:

      Shelia, I know this is a really late reply but I have been on Bumex for several years now and been hospitalized numerous times due to critical potassium 1.2 and even lower 2ndary to food poisoning!! Different Drs. treat certain levels like 3.4 as normal, textbook normal is 3.4-5, when in fact for those of us who take diuretics our levels aren’t always stable, and at 3.4 we may feel bad. Try googling things high in potassium like Cantelope….pick things you like and see if that helps you feel better, if you do then you need to talk with your Dr about increasing your potassium supplement so your level is around 4, and also have your Magnesium checked as well. My potassium is usually good in the summer because of all the fruits high in potassium, and I take a slow magneisium, under Dr’s orders. I hope you feel better, it’s a slippery slope, and I am on it too🤕😳. Getting a stomach bug, or the flu can throw people on water pills into Hypokalemia, and severe dehydration, be careful with flu season on the way‼️

  3. Beverly pilcher says:

    Please have your potassium levels checked!!!!. I had a stroke from low potassium levels.

    • Miranda says:

      Hi there I was admitted to hosp last Tuesday with asthma symptoms, I was having a lot of ventolin when my blood results come back my potassium was low I then had slightly low blood pressure they gave me potassium tablets the day I was released they said back to normal should I still follow up since leaving hosp I’m extremely tired and come to mention previous to this admission I had heart pulps n makes me wonder was my postasso low and that’s why I was getting this and just not picked up as I see it can be a side affect ??

      Thanks

      • Marie says:

        I am in my late 60’s. I was taking water pills for a few months. They depleted my potassium. From time to time my heart would flip during the day, and then go away for a month.Then they came back real bad and the last 2 wks have been hell. They start right after i eat food. I am afraid to eat now and have lost 3 lbs. I went to the ER twice as it was flipping for many hrs after i ate. EKG picked up a few pacs. They were not concerned. Called Ectopic beats. Can’t spell that. They did a blood test and found out my potassium was at 3.4. The range is from 3.6 to 5. I was just under, but enough that my heart fllipped bad. It is still flipping as i write this. So they gave me 2 huge potassium pills on both nites…didn’t help. Went to doc. Now gave me one big pill to take every day for a week. The palps are still here and not going away. It is freaking me out. I am also taking hawthorn herb to lower the blood pressure and help the palps. You wouldn’t wish this on your worst enemy it is so horrible!!!

        • Marie says:

          I forgot to say that i stopped the water pills 6 days ago, and still i am getting palpatations. My doctor wasn’t even concerned. He put me on a 24 hr holter monitor, but the hosp never sent him the results! And now he just fired me becuse i don’t want to take certain things which i believe are bad for me. I am looking for another doctor now. At least he gave me a script of a new kind of blood pressure pills. Am taking hawthorn and hope to wean off the drug. Hawthorn takes a few wks to work.

          • Beverly M says:

            Marie,

            MAGNESIUM. Get some in you, mag citrate will be best and least expensive. It will take a couple of weeks for the palps to subside. Maybe longer. Drink water, stay clear of coffee and tea for a few days. The magnesium will help reduce the blood pressure and assist with the absorption of your potassium.

  4. I have been dealing with severe arthritis in my knee shoulder and both index fingers I started taking Omega 3 fish oil tablet once a day and liquid glucosamine two tablespoons per day extra strength 2000 mg and was told this should eventually release my arthritis inflammation and pain? Any suggestions?

  5. Melissa says:

    Sheila you Defo have low potassium I feel exactly like you do right now n its horrible. I’m on supplements for a long time n I’m so depleted levels are not going far…I’d just come into bottom end normal when I got sunstrike n it came down again except all my bloods are consistently falsely elevated n they think iv potassium but I don’t its making me suicidal feeling this way for so long I had all the severe symptoms n shud have been on iv n nearly died but bloods showed I’d loads which I didn’t only tiny amount of k in blood n too much acid in blood falsely raises levels!! Mail me on meliceceg@gmail.com I dunno what am gonna do anymore I just got it checked yesterday n got a great doc in hospital that says I need to be at least 4 I told him all bloods are wrong etc but them he got called off n I got completely different doc with different attitude now I’m back to square one!! I’m aching all over can’t sleep have terrible headache and am fatigued!! Help me God the doc yesterday said he like electrytrs n was gonna help me now he’s gone. .cry

    • Dr John Paul Opoku says:

      Hello, i have read your complaint and I would like to offer some insights. You have palpitations and your blood work shows that your potassium is within the right range. Your doctors judging from your lab work and BP numbers and pulse may be baffled by the symptom you complain about and might even think you are making it up, which is not the case. Let us consider this new perspective : (1) High or low thyroid hormone can cause the palpitation. So you can check that with the endocrinologist. (2) If you are a patient with G6DP deficiency, some medications such as the hetb you mentioned can give you oxidative stress. Oxidative stress can cause mild or severe hemolysis whereby your red blood cells break up. In that case the potassium in the red blood cells that spill out may give false high or good potassium level while in actual fact your potassium also may be low. To help the doctors and yourself to figure out, you may suspend taking the herb or any new medication you started taking that coincided with the palpitation. If the symptom was triggered by G6DP deficiency, that should resolve the problem. You can also request Coombs’ test to determine if you have G6DP deficiency for future protection. Haptoglobin test or ESR with CBC can tell if you are having hemolysis due to G6DP deficiency oxidative stress. Let us see where this can take you. I highly recommend seeing an endocrinologist, especially if you are a female around the period of menopause. (3) Adrenal hyperactivity due to pheochromocytoma and high level of catecholamines arising from MENS can also cause hypokalamia and hypernatremia. Endocrinologist can give you a guide along these suggestions. Try also to eat one banana daily if it is established that you have low potassium.

  6. Ann Pineo says:

    I have a feeding tube, and I inject with a syringe potassium 25Eq citr twice a day but I am feeling tired,my whole body. I am having so much pain in my legs and stomach. Also having tinkly in arms and arms and hands.Even my vision has not been great it gets blurry at times. I feel like I want to go to bed. Also having headaches. Could my potassium be low?

    • Liz Eggar says:

      Doctor in South Africa gave me Slow-K, a slow release potassium, to take one every second day, when symptoms got bad. Worked like a charm! But doctors in UK don’t seem to want to give this and can’t buy OTC. Just can’t get enough from food, so I take potassium supplements from health store, plus So-Low salt , but I need salt in my diet because of low blood pressure. Caught between a rock and a hard place!

  7. nermin lesevic says:

    a was having all these syntoms
    then i ate an avocado and now i feel all fine

  8. helena says:

    I have lots of potassium containing foods every day. But I had a hair mineral analysis and it showed no potassium. I dont know why. I have every symptom of low potassium including the beginning of dizziness.

  9. Mary Yamada says:

    Had to go on high blood pressure meds before I could have both eyes re cataract surgery, and am on my 3rd meds since beginning this regimen. Have had isolated incidents of some kind of horrid physical thing happen to me in middle of night. Not often, maybe 2 or 3 times so far since beginning the high blood pressure meds, but last night I had another attack, and then this morning coming back from walking the dog. In addition to the horrid feeling, you are dizzy. First time during daylight hours standing up, not lying down in bed. It starts with a hint at what’s coming and builds up; you know it’s coming and can’t stop it. I don’t know how to describe the symptoms, but they are horrible and all-enveloping. I didn’t eat as much potassium yesterday as I should have. Just forgot. Things like bananas, eggs, coconut water, etc. I am taking 50mg Losarten per day.

  10. Ginger L Davila says:

    Hello everyone, I have Hypokalemia. I never knew it existed until I was at work and felt overwhelmingly hot, my feet felt like I was wearing concrete shoes and I suddenly had severe brain fog. I’d had tingling in various parts of my body but didn’t pay it much mind, for several days…when I couldn’t even use my phone to call my husband, they got his number and called him for me. I went immediately to the hospital. They thought that I’d had a stroke, as my hands were curled up against my chest and I wasn’t speaking coherently. They admitted me immediately and did blood work. It came back that my potassium levels were at a 2 which is VERY VERY bad. I was near death and had NO clue. I take 20 meq three times a day of Potassium. The problem with potassium is that is NOT something your body can hold onto. it leaves your body every time you urinate, sweat, or have diarrhea. If you have low levels of potassium you CANNOT get over heated. You cannot exercise to the point of sweating. You HAVE to keep cool so that you do not deplete your levels more than they are all ready. Also, if supplementing your potassium with foods- know that a sweet potato, white potato and broccoli have MORE potassium than a banana. Everyone says eat a banana only because it’s easier and a grab-as-you-go food. I wish everyone well, and easing up on their symptoms. Just wanted to pass on some info that may be helpful to others who just don’t know.

  11. janice says:

    Excellent site. It’s answering all my questions on low potassium. Using inhaler depletes it even further. Thank you and bless you.

  12. Pam says:

    I just started dealing with low potassium and it is horrible. I’m so tired I can hardly moved and my muscles ache all over. My doctor put me on one pill to start with and after taking blood work after a few days it had dropped more so she added a pill in the evening. I go in the morning for more blood work and hoping it’s bringing it up but the way I am feeling I’m not sure. I’m thinking it’s depleted from a medicine I started taking but if its not coming up we may have to check other things. I hope we get this resolved soon because I’m so miserable. I’m so glad I found this website. You all have been a big help.

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