How Long Does It Take To Recover From Low Potassium (And Why)?

Exact Answer: Within 24 Hours

Low Potassium or Hypokalemia is a condition when the potassium ratio in the human body reduces from the usual rate. Potassium is a nutrient that gets into the body via various foods that humans consume. Out of the consumed potassium, only 2% of it can be found in the bloodstream.

Since potassium gets into the body with food intake, sometimes due to poor diet, the body feels short of potassium. It causes an overall imbalance of potassium in the body. It is called Low potassium or the deficiency of potassium. 

How Long Does It Take To Recover From Low Potassium?

When there is a case of low potassium in the human body, there are signs or symptoms that show on the body. Besides the poor diet, the other reason for low potassium is the loss from the Gastrointestinal tract as well as the kidney.

The ratio of potassium can go down in the body due to various reasons like Ileostomy, Diarrhea or vomiting, etc. There can be many symptoms like Digestive problems, heart palpitations, fatigue, tiredness.

Depending upon the symptoms and many other factors, it takes quite some time to recover from it. The time it will take to recover from low potassium is going to be different for each individual. However, full recovery from potassium is possible even within 24 hours.

The symptoms can become worse if the proper medication is not administered into the body. It can further enhance the recovery time from low potassium. Since it is an imminent electrolyte for the body, it is necessary to keep it maintained.

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Hypokalemia or low potassium can cause potential damage to the heart over time. To treat low potassium there are a few options that can be opted. Usually, for milder cases, potassium supplements are recommended. In some cases, an IV can also be administered.

The recovery time can be less than 24 hours if supplements are being taken along with food that is rich in potassium.

Severity of hypokalemiaThe time it takes to recover
Mild caseWithin 24 hours
Severe case7 to 10 days

Why Does It Take That Long To Recover From Low Potassium?

Low potassium can happen due to many reasons, but it takes time to treat it. The recovery period for a low potassium case can depend on many factors. Some of them are as below:

  • The main factor behind the length of the recovery period of Hypokalemia is how severe the case is. If the case is a mild one, the recovery will happen much faster. For a very serious case, it can take even more time to recover due to hospitalization. It can take anywhere from a week to even more than that.
  • The recovery time is different for the different individuals as not all humans have the same body. The potassium supplements will take different times to work on different humans. 
  • The main road to recovery is when the symptoms start fading. Since there are a lot of symptoms that can happen due to low potassium, it takes a lot of time for these symptoms to subside or fade away completely. The recovery time can majorly vary depending upon what symptoms a person is facing. It can only be one symptom at a time or even multiple symptoms at once. If there are numerous symptoms, it will take considerably more time.
  • The supplement dosage is another factor that defines the recovery time in hypokalemia cases. There are different dosage that are prescribed to a patient according to the requirement.
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Conclusions

It is easy to ignore the symptoms of low potassium, and it can lead to the case becoming a serious one. If the potassium supplements are taken in the initial stage, it can save a person from getting hospitalized. 

However, it is necessary to take any type of supplement only after consulting a doctor. This way, the doctor can suggest the proper medication and the proportion in which it should be taken. 

Frequent cases of low potassium can lead to even more problems in the future. Early diagnosis and treatment are best in the case of hypokalemia.

References

  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0002934351901660
  2. https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/nejm199808133390707

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