Potassium’s roles in the body include:
EXCESS OF POTASSIUM
Normally an overdose of potassium is not life-threatening, since excess potassium triggers a vomiting reflex in the stomach. Babies and people with weak hearts may not be able to withstand this trauma. Consuming too much potassium can be harmful to people with kidney problems, because they are unable to get rid of the excess.
There is no major chronic disease associated with too much potassium. When excess potassium is present in the blood, the cause is usually a health problem such as kidney failure, uncontrolled diabetes or use of certain drugs. Excess potassium can trigger a heart attack and result in death.
A potassium deficiency is unlikely in healthy people, unless the diet primarily consists of highly processed foods on a continuous basis. A deficiency is usually caused by losing excessive amounts of potassium rather than not getting enough in the diet.
The earliest symptoms of a deficiency are tiredness, muscle weakness, and heart muscle irritability, followed by paralysis and confusion. The following conditions can cause a potassium deficiency:
Note: Low potassium symptoms can last for days.