Equip yourself. Learn about hypokalemia.

Hypokalemia causes

The condition of hypokalemia can be caused by various underlying medical issues or circumstances. Please consider that this is not a potential list, and that a patient does not have one of these medical conditions does not mean that he is not at risk for developing hypokalemia. Additionally, having one or more of the following conditions does not mean that an individual will necessarily have excessively low potassium.

Several potential causes are mentioned below, with brief details regarding them.

Cushing syndrome

This, as well as other medical problems which affect renal potassium retention, can bring hypokalemia. Cushing syndrome is a hormone disorder which is brought on by hypercortisolism (high cortisol levels) in the patient's blood. Some other diseases that fall into the area of kidney potassium retention include: hyperaldosteronism, Bartter syndrome, etc.


A diuretic is a medication that raises the urination rate. There are different classifications of diuretics: high and low ceiling, osmotic, and others. The excessive urination removes additional potassium from the individual's body. A class known as potassium-sparing diuretics is intended to retain more potassium in the body by not promoting its secretion, and therefore not losing as much as is with other forms.

Diet deficient in potassium

Not taking in sufficient potassium in one's diet can lead to a deficiency and hypokalemia. Many foods contain potassium, and this website contains a page listing - in both rich and moderately rich categories - foods that are natural sources of potassium.

Low magnesium - hypomagnesemia

When the blood's level of magnesium is abnormally low, the situation is known as hypomagnesemia. It is not the same as a general magnesium deficiency. One of the potential complications of this condition is hypokalemia, as a raised efflux of intracellular K leads the cell to a loss of potassium, which is excreted from the patient's body by the kidneys.

Additional potential causes

A number of other situations can lead to hypokalemia. Also, along with the generally possible hypokalemia symptoms, underlying medical causes can also have their own.