Our body needs several minerals to function properly. Potassium is one of those essential minerals. Many parents try to increase its quantity in their child’s diet. It plays an important role in reducing the risks of things like growing pains.
Potassium is necessary to maintain ideal blood pressure levels, prevent kidney stone issue, and prevent bone loss. Babies get a steady supply of potassium if parents provide them with healthy meals.
If potassium levels drop in a child’s body, it is called hypokalemia. It can turn into a troubling health problem. Therefore, you may need to buy a potassium supplement for baby to help in a quick recovery. Continue reading to learn more about hypokalemia and its effects on babies.
What Are the Symptoms of Lack of Potassium in Babies?
As mentioned earlier, potassium is quite essential to maintain a healthy physique. There should be 3.5-5.5 mmol/L potassium. It plays a vital role in maintaining normal neuromuscular function and proper acid-base balance to improve metabolism.
The following symptoms indicate that your baby is potassium deficient.
1. Excess fatigue and weakness
Potassium deficient babies get weaker and their heartbeats get weakened. It causes fatigue and inactivity. Lack of potassium can also cause respiratory muscle paralysis, which can have quite fatal consequences. So, if your baby starts looking weaker and shows signs of dizziness, you must contact a doctor.
2. Muscle spasm
Babies can experience sudden muscle cramps and spasm due to reducing potassium levels in their blood. This mineral aids in relaying signals from the brain to muscle cells. Those signals are sent to contract muscles. It can be quite painful for anyone and newborns or infants will cry a lot in such a situation.
3. Digestive problems
Babies do not have too many things which may cause digestive problems! Potassium deficiency is one of a few causes responsible for poor digestive performance in children. Potassium relays signals from the brain to contract muscles located in the child’s digestive system. Lack of potassium can break that communication and the child will have digestion-related health issues.
Nausea and vomiting are two health issues that affect infants in several diseases. These signs indicate potassium deficiency when combined with aggravating anorexia and abdominal distension.
Tachycardia, muscle weakness, irritability, numbness, and diarrhea are some other symptoms that indicate potassium deficiency in infants and kids. You should contact a doctor if your child shows more than one signs of hypokalemia. A quick diagnosis is important for quick recovery.
What Causes Potassium Deficiency in Babies?
Babies can either have acquired nutritional deficiency or congenital hereditary. Both are types of potassium deficiency in infants and children.
A baby may have calcium deficiency due to many reasons. The following causes are mainly responsible for this acquired nutritional potassium deficiency:
- Frequent vomiting
- Long-term gastrointestinal drainage
- Excess sweating
A child’s body starts releasing excess potassium when he experiences the above-listed issues. It eventually leads to hypokalemia if the baby is not treated in time.
Acquired nutritional deficiency is much easier to treat at home. You just need to feed fruits and vegetables to your child daily. This diet will replenish his potassium stores and the child will feel better.
Congenital hereditary potassium deficiency is quite difficult to treat. You need a highly skilled doctor’s help to carry out genetic modification treatment. That’s how your child can recover if has congenital hereditary potassium deficiency.
Is Dehydration Responsible for Potassium Deficiency in Your Baby?
Dehydration is one of several causes of the lack of potassium in babies. Newborns do not need water to get hydrated. They can get enough water from breast milk to stay well-hydrated. Babies, who are taking complementary meals daily, need water to stay hydrated.
A dehydrated child is most likely to suffer from potassium deficiency. Even though it is not a serious health issue, it can create troubles that are more concerning than hypokalemia. You should carefully observe whether your child has a dry mouth or tongue. If he shows this sign, he is dehydrated.
Reduced urination frequency and urine output also indicate that your child is dehydrated. All parents must learn how to manage dehydration and how to prevent it in infants. You should always keep the rehydrating solution at your home. Feed it to the child if he looks dehydrated. Thus, you can avoid a major cause of hypokalemia in your child.
How to Diagnose Potassium Deficiency in Babies?
You will need a potassium supplement for baby only if he is diagnosed with severe hypokalemia. Doctors usually recommend a routine blood test to check potassium levels. A supplement is recommended only if a patient has <2.5 mmol/L potassium level.
ECG and EKG tests:
The doctor can recommend ECG and EKG tests to find low potassium levels. It is an effective way of diagnosing hypokalemia. The doctor checks U waves’ characteristics in an EKG test to diagnose hypokalemia. This test also reveals whether the child has a weird disturbance in heart rhythm. The doctor then plans an effective treatment to recover your child quickly.
Certain medications can reduce blood potassium levels!
Yes, certain medicines can cause low potassium levels as a complication. It usually happens with patients, who have a high blood pressure issue. Doctors provide diuretics to cure high blood pressure problem, which eventually leads to hypokalemia. Infants or children rarely experience such a health issue. Therefore, the chances of low potassium due to diuretic intake are quite rare in babies.
Vomiting and diarrhea are two main causes of hypokalemia in children:
Babies can have low potassium levels due to diarrhea and vomiting. They reduce food intake when experiencing dizziness and diarrhea. Consequently, potassium levels drop further. The doctor might check potassium levels and recommend a potassium supplement for baby.
How to Supplement Potassium in Babies?
A variety of foods provide potassium along with other nutrients. You might be eating many potassium-rich foods daily without knowing about their potassium content. Follow the below-given tips to supplement potassium naturally:
Grains to feed the baby:
Once the baby is 6 months old, you can feed grains in the form of a liquid diet to the child. Corn, buckwheat, sweet potatoes, and soybeans have high potassium content. You should cook recipes, which include the listed grains. These foods will help you in curing potassium deficiency in your baby quickly.
Banana is an easily available potassium-rich fruit. It is affordable and famous as an energy-booster fruit. Feed one or half banana daily to your potassium deficient child. He will recovery quite faster.
There is a wide range of vegetables rich in potassium. You can feed amaranth, spinach, cabbage, rape, green onions, coriander, lettuce, green garlic, yam, potatoes, fresh peas, and several other potassium-rich veggies to your child.
Carefully assess potassium content in each vegetable. Feel veggies, which can increase potassium levels quickly in your baby.
Researchers have found that 100 grams of seaweed contain 1640 mg of potassium. Doctors also recommend feeding seaweed soup to potassium deficient people. It is probably the best food to cure potassium deficiency quickly.
Suppose your child does not like seaweed soup, you can feed seaweed steamed fish, cold seaweed shreds, and seaweed meatballs to your child. These foods ensure you and the child gets the recommended dose of potassium daily. So, increase the intake of all the listed foods to treat potassium deficiency faster.
Is It Possible to Prevent Potassium Deficiency in Babies?
Yes, it is possible to prevent calcium deficiency in babies. This problem rarely affects a child. The baby can recover pretty fast if you take care of his diet. The human body is capable of maintaining ideal potassium levels on its own. All you need to do is feed fresh fruits, vegetables, and potassium-rich foods to your child.
A short-term illness can cause the loss of potassium in babies. Feed potassium-rich foods to your baby, which can easily compensate for the loss of potassium. If that short-term illness lasts for several days, your baby can lose too much potassium. You should immediately see a doctor cure that illness quickly.
When Does the Doctor Prescribe an Oral Potassium Supplement?
The doctor might prescribe an oral potassium supplement for baby if he is consuming diuretic drugs. An oral supplement might also be necessary if the child’s diarrhea lasts for several days. Such supplements are rarely prescribed because babies recover faster.
Take your child to a doctor whenever he suffers from diarrhea or feels dizzy. He will have short-term potassium deficiency due to losing essential fluids. Feed potassium-rich foods and your child will be fine.
Hypokalemia becomes a serious health issue only when a person loses bodily fluids at a fast rate. Babies experience such health issues when they are suffering from diarrhea and vomiting frequently.
Treat those health issues as soon as possible to prevent dehydration in your baby. Thus, he won’t lose essential minerals with fluids. The baby won’t suffer from potassium deficiency if you treat the causes quickly. Thus, it won’t be necessary to take an oral potassium supplement for baby!