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Potassium Deficiency in Children

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Common Causes of Potassium Deficiency in Children

Children can deplete their potassium reserves when they sweat excessively, overuse laxatives, vomit, or have diarrhea. Some other things that can cause low potassium levels in kids include malnutrition, diseases that affect the kidneys, leukemia, insulin, low magnesium levels, and certain medications.

Diagnoses of Low Potassium Levels in Kids

A doctor can diagnose low potassium in a child by doing a blood test. During the blood test, the doctor will use a needle to take blood from the vein. The process is not painful, but it may sting, and cause some discomfort.

Treatment of  Potassium Deficiency in children

Mild potassium deficiency in children can be treated with potassium pills, or liquid. Kids with severely low potassium levels may be hospitalized and given potassium intravenously to bring their levels back up to normal. Since potassium deficiency can lead to heart failure, youngsters may also be placed on a cardiac monitor.

In addition to treatments that replace potassium in the body, children should eat plenty of potassium-rich foods such as spinach, cantaloupes, bananas, oranges, and tomatoes. And when kids are being monitored for low potassium levels, they need to avoid doing strenuous activities that can cause them to sweat excessively. The doctor will determine the best course of treatment for a child with low potassium levels.

How to Prevent Low Potassium Levels in Kids

To prevent potassium deficiency, give children fluids such as Pedialyte to replace lost electrolytes in the body when they vomit excessively, or have diarrhea. Opt for natural ways to relieve constipation instead of overusing laxatives. And fill kids’ diets with plenty of foods that are rich in potassium. If a child is taking medication, or has a health condition that can deplete the levels of potassium in his body, talk to a physician to see how often his electrolyte levels should be checked.

If potassium deficiency in children is left untreated, it can be fatal. So if kids are experiencing symptoms associated with low potassium levels, contact a doctor immediately.

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