Low potassium (hypokalemia) refers to a lower than normal potassium level in your bloodstream. Potassium is a chemical (electrolyte) that is critical to the proper functioning of nerve and muscles cells, particularly heart muscle cells.
Normally, your blood potassium level is 3.6 to 5.2 millimoles per liter (mmol/L). A very low potassium level (less than 2.5 mmol/L) can be life-threatening and requires urgent medical attention.
Low potassium (hypokalemia)
Causes of potassium loss leading to low potassium include:
- Chronic kidney disease
- Diabetic ketoacidosis
- Excessive alcohol use
- Excessive laxative use
- Excessive sweating
- Folic acid deficiency
- Prescription water or fluid pills (diuretics) use
- Primary aldosteronism
- Some antibiotic use
Causes shown here are commonly associated with this symptom. Work with your doctor or other health care professional for an accurate diagnosis.