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Discharge Instructions for Hypokalemia

You have been diagnosed with hypokalemia. This means you have a low level of potassium in your blood. Potassium helps your nerve and muscle cells work as they should. These cells include the cells in your heart. A low level of potassium in the blood can cause serious problems, such as abnormal heart rhythms and even heart attack.

Diet changes

Eat more potassium-rich foods such as:

  • Bananas

  • Oranges and orange juice

  • Tomatoes, tomato sauce, and tomato juice

  • Leafy green vegetables, such as spinach, kale, salad greens, collards, and chard

  • Melons (all kinds)

  • Pomegranates

  • Peas

  • Beans

  • Potatoes

  • Sweet potatoes

  • Avocados, including guacamole

  • Vegetable juices, such as V8

  • Fruit juices

  • All nuts and seeds

  • Fish, including tuna, halibut, salmon, cod, snapper, haddock, swordfish, and perch

  • Milk, including fat-free, low-fat, whole, chocolate, and buttermilk

  • Soy milk

Other home care

  • Take a potassium supplement as directed by your healthcare provider.

  • After strenuous exercise or any activity that causes you to sweat a lot, grab a beverage high in potassium. This includes chocolate milk, coconut water, orange juice, or low-sodium vegetable juices.

  • Be sure to eat foods or drink fluids that contain potassium if you are having diarrhea or vomiting.

  • Have your potassium levels checked regularly.

  • Take all medicines exactly as directed.

  • Tell your healthcare provider about all prescription and over-the-counter medicines you are taking. This includes herbal products.

  • Don't have foods that are high in salt. Pass up canned and prepared foods that are high in salt.


  • Make a follow-up appointment as directed by our staff.

  • Keep all follow-up appointments. Your healthcare provider needs to monitor your condition closely.

When to call your healthcare provider

Call your provider right away or go to the emergency room if you have any of the following:

  • Vomiting

  • Fatigue

  • Diarrhea

  • Rapid, irregular heartbeat

  • Shortness of breath

  • Chest pain

  • Muscle cramps, spasms, or twitching

  • Weakness

  • Paralysis

Online Medical Reviewer: Diane Horowitz MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Paula Goode RN BSN MSN
Online Medical Reviewer: Raymond Kent Turley BSN MSN RN
Date Last Reviewed: 5/1/2020
© 2000-2022 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.