• Alternative Names

    Potassium - low; Low blood potassium


    A small drop in potassium usually doesn't cause symptoms. However, a big drop in the level can be life threatening.

    Symptoms of hypokalemia include:

    • Abnormal heart rhythms (dysrhythmias), especially in people with heart disease
    • Constipation
    • Fatigue
    • Muscle damage (rhabdomyolysis)
    • Muscle weakness or spasms
    • Paralysis (which can include the lungs)

    Signs and tests

    Your health care provider will take a sample of your blood to check potassium levels.

    Other tests might include:

    • Arterial blood gas
    • Basic or comprehensive metabolic panel
    • Electrocardiogram (ECG)
    • Blood tests to check glucose, magnesium, calcium, sodium, phosphorous, thyroxine, and aldosterone levels