Potassium chloride is a salt formed by the bonding of potassium and chlorine ions. The compound, whose molecular makeup is KCL, is an essential way of delivering potassium.
Potassium chloride is a medication that is available only by prescription, mainly to treat a potassium deficiency, called hypokalemia, although it is also used to treat other conditions.
Potassium chloride is mainly used to treat and prevent potassium deficiency in the body. Potassium is an essential element concentrated in every cell of the body and necessary to regulate the heart. It is also essential to maintain normal calcium balance in the body, control blood pressure, activate enzymes needed for energy production, protein synthesis and maintaining healthy nervous and muscle systems.
Given the important roles that potassium plays in the body, low potassium levels (hypokalemia) can result in serious health conditions. The symptoms of a potassium deficiency include fatigue, muscle cramps or general weakness, feeling dizzy, being thirsty all the time, and changes in the heart rate or rhythm. Talk to your doctor if you have any of these symptoms and think that lack of potassium is to blame.
Benefits of Potassium chloride
- Maintenance of a healthy nervous system: Potassium helps the body maintain a healthy calcium balance. Calcium is one of the most important ions involved in the transmission of signals within the nervous system. Potassium also enables cells to transmit electrical impulses between each other.
- Maintenance of a healthy cardiovascular system: Potassium is an important element in the maintenance of a healthy heart. Potassium helps keep the heart muscles healthy by relaying electrical signals between the muscles and the nervous system.
- Maintenance of a healthy muscular-skeletal system: Potassium helps to keep the nervous system healthy and, therefore, plays a major role in the body’s motor system. Apart from this, potassium also helps in protein synthesis and therefore affects muscle buildup. With regards to the skeletal system, potassium helps maintain a calcium balance within the body, necessary for healthy teeth and bones.
- Helps regulate the metabolism: Potassium is necessary for the activation of enzymes which help in cell metabolism. It is, therefore, an important element in the body’s energy production.
- Replacement for sodium in salt: People with hypertension or who are on a sodium-restricted diet usually use potassium chloride as a replacement. Talk to your doctor if potassium chloride is right for you as a sodium replacement.
Potassium chloride remedies
- Treatment and prevention of high blood pressure: In 1998, a study conducted at the Harvard School of Public Health and published in the American Heart Association Journal demonstrated potassium could significantly lower blood pressure. The supplement works by regulating the heartbeat and, thus, helps to slow the heart in cases of high blood pressure.
- Treatment and prevention of osteoporosis: Osteoporosis is characterized by depletion of body calcium leading to weakening of the bones. The kidneys are responsible for the regulation of potassium and calcium levels in the blood. Potassium helps in the re-absorption of calcium from urine in the kidneys.
- Treatment and prevention of heart disease: Potassium plays a major role in the functioning of the heart, helping maintain a normal heartbeat. As such, potassium chloride supplementation can be used to treat heart problems like arrhythmia as well as prevent blood clotting and stroke.
- Treat and prevent hypokalemia: Hypokalemia is a medical condition which results from low potassium levels in the blood. Some of the problems associated with hypokalemia include: muscle weakness and cramps, nervous disorders and increased chances of developing cardiac problems.
- Relieves muscle fatigue: Potassium helps in the metabolism within the body’s cells. It also helps to relieve muscle weakness and cramps. In addition, it plays a role in maintenance of a healthy nervous system. Therefore, potassium chloride medication can help relieve muscle fatigue.
Potassium chloride side effects
- Stomach upset: Taking potassium chloride medication can result in stomach upset. The patient might experience stomach cramps, diarrhea and bloating. These side effects are seen in patients taking small or large doses of this medication. To reduce chances of developing side effects, patients are advised to take the medication with a meal or immediately after eating.
- Low blood pressure levels: Potassium chloride is used to treat those high blood pressure conditions which result from low potassium levels in the blood. However, if high doses of this medication are taken, the patient might experience hypotension. The result is usually mental confusion, and dizziness. If taking potassium chloride for blood pressure issues, make sure you are taking the right dosage, and talk to your doctor about monitoring your blood pressure regularly.
- Hyperkalemia: Hyperkalemia is excess potassium in the blood. Normally, it is symptomless, but occasionally, it will muscle paralysis or changes in heart rate and rhythm. You may notice tingling of your hands and feet or muscle fatigue or weakness. Normally, doctors who prescribe potassium chloride monitor your blood potassium levels, however, you should talk to your doctor if you experience any of these symptoms.
- Allergic reactions: Some people might experience an allergic reaction to potassium chloride. The reaction may include: skin irritation and rashes, swelling in oral tract, dizziness and difficulty in breathing.
- Kidney Problems: The kidneys are the regulators of the amount of potassium in the body. However, if you have kidney problems, consumption of potassium chloride can worsen the condition, so talk to your doctor before taking.
Potassium chloride has many benefits within the body. Potassium plays an important role in maintenance of a healthy muscular, cardiac, nervous and metabolic system, and potassium chloride is an excellent way of supplying it to the body. Potassium chloride is mainly used as a treatment for potassium deficiency, although it can be used to help with other condition such as osteoporosis, heart disease, high blood pressure and muscle fatigue. Since potassium chloride is only available on prescription, talk to your doctor about whether it is right for you.