Hypokalemia

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:

Hypokalemia is a low level of potassium in your blood. Potassium helps control how your muscles, heart, and digestive system work. Hypokalemia occurs when your body loses too much potassium or does not absorb enough.

AFTER YOU LEAVE:

Medicines:

  • Medicines will be given to bring your potassium levels back to normal.

  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your primary healthcare provider (PHP) if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Eat foods that are high in potassium:

Foods that are high in potassium include bananas, tomatoes, oranges, turkey, and milk. Orange juice, citrus juices, and tomato juice are also high in potassium. Avoid caffeine. You may need to meet with a dietitian to help plan the best meals for you.

Follow up with your PHP as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Contact your PHP if:

  • You are vomiting or have diarrhea.

  • You have numbness or tingling in your arms or legs.

  • Your symptoms do not go away or they get worse.

  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Seek care immediately or call 911 if:

  • You have trouble breathing.

  • You cannot move your arm or leg.

  • You have a fast or irregular heartbeat.

  • You are too tired or weak to stand up.

© 2014 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Hypokalemia (Discharge Care)

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