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Low Potassium (cont.)

Low Potassium Causes

Low potassium can occur for many reasons. Use of water pills (diuretics), diarrhea, and chronic laxative abuse are the most common causes of low potassium levels.

Illness and other medications may also lower potassium levels. Woman and African-Americans are at higher risk of developing hypokalemia.

Other causes of hypokalemia include:

Kidney losses

Loss of potassium through stomach and intestines

Effect of medicines

Shifting of potassium into and out of cells can lower the concentration of potassium measured in the blood.

  • Use of insulin
  • Certain metabolic states (such as alkalosis)

Decreased food intake or malnutrition

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/19/2015

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Hypokalemia »

Potassium, the most abundant intracellular cation, is essential for the life of the organism.

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