Potassium is a vital mineral that is important for energy, vitality and normal functioning of our body. Women are more prone to potassium deficiency compared to men. Medically, this deficiency is known as hypokalemia. If there is not enough potassium intake, there is loss in muscle strength, there is a lapse between signals sent between the nerves and the cell of the body and the functioning of the heart, leading to overall weakness.
Causes of Potassium Deficiency in Women
Low potassium levels in women can be attributed to many reasons, particularly pregnancy. Also stress can be a factor, which is characterized by loss of fluids, vomiting, fainting and diarrhea. Having laxatives and diuretics can also cause problem. Having diet lacking in potassium like bananas, potatoes can also be the reason. During pregnancy, there can be fluctuations in the blood pressure and hormonal imbalance causing deficiency in potassium levels. Thyroid problems, adrenal glands disorder, kidney problems and other co-related nutritional deficiencies can also be the cause.
Potassium deficiency symptoms in women
Some of the symptoms that show lack of potassium in women are as follows
Weakness and fatigue
Skin turning dry
Cramps in the muscle
Numbness and tingling
Increase in urine production
Low Blood Pressure
Getting stressed out easily
Potassium deficiency in women can result in constipation, abdominal cramps, bloating and excessive flatulence in women. Constipation can be quite a problem because fluid from food gets absorbed in the intestine and the contents stick to the wall. They are not able to come through the passage and start accumulating, causing bacterial deposition, which can lead to chronic constipation and irregular bowel movements
Irregular heart-beats- There are heart muscles that regulate the heartbeats. If there is low potassium in the body, the heart muscles become weak and are not able regulate properly, which means the normal rhythm of contraction and relaxing of heart muscles is hampered. If the deficiency of potassium is severe, there can be cardiac arrest too.
If potassium levels in a woman’s body is very low, it can affect the entire muscular system, the person will not be able to walk, stand or even talk properly. The person may find it difficult to stand on her feet without support. There is also a possiblity of a condition called rhabdomyolysis, which happens when the skeletal muscles give way. If potassium deficiency is not treated, it can also cause paralysis to the body.
Treatment for potassium deficiency in women
In normal cases of potassium deficiency, the woman needs to intake balance diet which has a fair share of potassium-rich foods and also takes potassium supplement on the advice of a medical practitioner. The daily requirement for potassium in an adult is 2000 to 3000 mg per day which is available in a healthy balanced diet. Some of the foods that are rich in potassium include bananas, citrus fruits, watermelon, peas, nuts, chicken, sardines, leafy green vegetables, potatoes, sardines and cod. In fact, potassium supplements are given to athletes, pregnant women and elderly women who need extra potassium. Do not take over-the-counter potassium supplements because they can cause problems to the health.