3. Signs and Symptoms of Hypokalemia

L - Lethargy
L - Leg cramps
L - Less pooping (think constipation)
L - Limp muscles (if patient is cramping, you can associate that with the limp muscle)
L - Less respiration, shallow respiration (respiratory count below average)
L - Lethality of cardiac symptoms (arrhythmia)

If there's an L in hypokalemia, there's going to be the letter L everywhere! Run for it!

An example of watching out for hypokalemia is when a patient has metabolic acidosis. When you think of metabolic acidosis, you think of changes in potassium levels because potassium is an intracellular cation. (You also think of hyperkalemia when you have metabolic acidosis.)

Cardiac symptoms to watch out for includes depressed U waves on the ECG. It is depressing if U get arrhythmia due to hypokalemia.

If administering potassium, it is essential to check renal function first because the kidneys plays a primary role in regulating potassium. To help you remember, just think of the kidney shaped like a potato.

Pot(assium) Pot(ato) kidney

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