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Hypokalemia

WHAT YOU NEED TO 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 from food.

WHILE YOU ARE HERE:

Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.

Medicine:

You will receive potassium to bring your levels back to normal. This may be given as a pill or IV.

Tests:

  • Blood tests will be done to monitor your potassium levels. They will also show how well your treatment is working.
  • Urine tests may be done to check your kidney function and help monitor your condition.
  • Telemetry is continuous monitoring of your heart rhythm. Sticky pads placed on your skin connect to an EKG machine that records your heart rhythm.

Nutrition:

You may need to increase potassium in your diet. A dietitian may meet with you to teach you about foods that are high in potassium. Foods that are high in potassium include bananas, oranges, tomatoes, potatoes, and avocado. Pinto beans, turkey, salmon, lean beef, yogurt, and milk are also high in potassium.

RISKS:

You can develop hyperkalemia (high levels of potassium) if you receive too much potassium too quickly. This can lead to heart damage.

CARE AGREEMENT:

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

© 2017 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.

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