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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.
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You will receive potassium to bring your levels back to normal. This may be given as a pill or IV.
- Blood tests will be done to monitor your potassium levels. They will also show how well your treatment is working.
- Blood gases , or arterial blood gas (ABG), is when your blood is tested for oxygen and carbon dioxide levels. The blood is taken from a vein in your wrist, arm, or groin. The results can tell caregivers how well your lungs are 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.
A dietitian may meet with you to plan the best way to help you get enough potassium in the foods you eat. Eat foods that are high in potassium, such as bananas, tomatoes, oranges, turkey, and milk. Orange juice, citrus juices, and tomato juice are also high in potassium. Avoid caffeine.
You can get hyperkalemia (high levels of potassium) if you receive too much potassium too quickly. This can lead to heart damage. Without treatment, your symptoms will worsen. Your muscle tissue can be damaged and cause paralysis. The muscles that help you breathe can be affected. This can be life-threatening.
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.
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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.