potassium

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potassium

 (K) [po-tas´e-um]
a chemical element, atomic number 19, atomic weight 39.102. (See Appendix 6.) In combination with other minerals in the body, potassium forms alkaline salts that are important in body processes and play an essential role in maintenance of the acid-base and water balance in the body. All body cells, especially muscle tissue, require a high content of potassium. A proper balance between sodium, calcium, and potassium in the blood plasma is necessary for proper cardiac function.

Since most foods contain a good supply of potassium, potassium deficiency (hypokalemia) is unlikely to be caused by an unbalanced diet. Possible causes include cushing's syndrome (due to an adrenal gland disorder) and fanconi's syndrome (the result of a congenital kidney defect). The cause could also be an excessive dose of cortisone, prolonged vomiting or diarrhea, or thiazide diuretics, which are administered for treatment of hypertension. Signs of potassium deficiency can include weakness and lethargy, rapid pulse, nausea, diarrhea, and tingling sensations.

If the body absorbs enough potassium but the element is not distributed properly, various disorders may develop. Thus an abnormally low content of potassium in the blood may result in an intermittent temporary paralysis of the muscles, known as familial periodic paralysis.

Potassium deficiency can be treated by administration of potassium supplements. There is a large variety of these preparations. Some are liquids, some are powders to be dissolved in liquids, and some are slow-release tablets that dissolve in the intestine. All can cause gastrointestinal irritation. For many persons on diuretic therapy for hypertension, potassium deficiency can be avoided by increasing their consumption of potassium-containing foods, such as bananas, dates, prunes, and raisins, and potassium supplements are not needed. Potassium supplements are never given to patients receiving potassium-sparing diuretics such as amiloride, spironolactone, or triamterene. If the difficulty lies in the body's use of potassium, treatment is concerned with the primary cause of the deficiency.
Homeostatic balance of potassium. Through the functions of resorption and excretion, the kidneys are the best regulator of potassium balance in the extracellular fluids. From Malarkey and McMorrow, 2000.
potassium acetate an electrolyte replenisher and systemic and urinary alkalizer.
potassium bicarbonate an electrolyte replenisher, antacid, and urinary alkalizer.
potassium bitartrate a compound administered rectally as a suppository with sodium bicarbonate to produce carbon dioxide, which promotes defecation by distending the rectal ampulla; administered for relief of constipation, and evacuation of the colon before surgical or diagnostic procedures or childbirth.
potassium chloride a compound used orally or intravenously as an electrolyte replenisher.
potassium citrate a systemic and urinary alkalizer, electrolyte replenisher, and diuretic.
dibasic potassium phosphate the dipotassium salt, K2HPO4; used alone or in combination with other phosphate compounds as an electrolyte replenisher.
potassium gluconate an electrolyte replenisher used in the prophylaxis and treatment of hypokalemia.
potassium guaiacolsulfonate an expectorant.
potassium iodide an expectorant, antithyroid agent, and antifungal.
monobasic potassium phosphate the monopotassium salt, KH2PO4; used as a buffering agent in pharmaceutical preparations and, alone or in combination with other phosphate compounds, as an electrolyte replenisher and urinary acidifier and for prevention of kidney stones.
potassium permanganate a topical antiinfective and oxidizing agent, and an antidote for many poisons.
potassium phosphate a compound combining potassium and phosphoric acid, usually dibasic potassium phosphate.
potassium sodium tartrate a compound used as a saline cathartic.

po·tas·si·um (K),

(pō-tas'ē-ŭm),
An alkaline metallic element, atomic no. 19, atomic wt. 39.0983, occurring abundantly in nature but always in combination; its salts are used medicinally. For organic potassium salts not listed below, see the name of the anion.
Synonym(s): kalium
[Mod. L., fr. Eng. potash (fr. pot + ashes) + -ium]

potassium

An alkaline metallic element (atomic number 19; atomic weight 39.09), potassium is the principal intracellular cation (positive ion) and is critical in the synthesis of new molecules, transferring energy, muscle contraction, transmitting neural impulses and maintaining blood pressure. Potassium-rich foods include bananas, cereals, legumes, potatoes, prunes and raisins.

potassium

K+, Kalium Physiology An alkaline metallic element–atomic number 19; atomic weight 39.09; it is the principal intracellular cation–positive ion and is critical for synthesis of new molecules, transfer of energy, muscle contraction, neural transmission, and maintaining BP; K+ in the circulation has a narrow range; it is ↓ in crash dieting, Cushing syndrome, DKA, dehydration, hyperaldosteronism, licorice–due to aldosterone-like effects of glycerrhizic acid, malnutrition, metabolic acidosis, nasogastic suctioning, starvation, stress–burns, surgery, trauma, vomiting, and drugs–eg, aspirin, corticosteroids, potassium-wasting diuretics, estrogen, insulin, laxatives, lithium, sodium polystyrene sulfonate–Kaylexate; it is ↑ with anuria or oliguria, tissue injury/necrosis, burns, potassium in IV solutions, metabolic acidosis, renal insufficiency or failure, and therapy with K+-sparing diuretics–eg, spironolactone, antibiotics–eg, cephalosporins, isoniazid, penicillin, epinephrine, histamine Potassium-rich foods Bananas, cereals, legumes, potatoes, prunes, raisins

po·tas·si·um

(K) (pŏ-tas'ē-ŭm)
An alkaline metallic element, atomic no. 19, atomic wt. 39.0983, occurring abundantly in nature but always in combination; its salts are used medicinally; the primary intracellular cation.
Synonym(s): kalium.
[Mod. L., fr. Eng. potash (fr. pot + ashes) + -ium]

potassium

An important body mineral present in carefully controlled concentration. Potassium is necessary for normal heart rhythm, for the regulation of the body's water balance and for the conduction of nerve impulses and the contraction of muscles. Many diuretic drugs result in a loss of potassium from the body and this can be dangerous. Supplementary potassium is often included in the formulation of these preparations. Potassium may also be given as a separate supplement in such preparations as Kay-Cee-L or Slow-K.

Potassium

A mineral found in whole grains, meat, legumes, and some fruits and vegetables. Potassium is important for many body processes, including proper functioning of the nerves and muscles.
Mentioned in: Diuretics, Hypokalemia

po·tas·si·um

(pŏ-tas'ē-ŭm)
An alkaline metallic element, occurring abundantly in nature but always in combination; its salts are used medicinally.
[Mod. L., fr. Eng. potash (fr. pot + ashes) + -ium]