Sunday, 10 April 2011

Hypokalemic periodic paralysis Definition:

Hypokalemic periodic paralysis is a condition of intermittent episodes of muscle weakness and sometimes severe paralysis. It is one of a group of genetic disorders that includes hyperkalemic periodic paralysis and thyrotoxic periodic paralysis.
This disorder is distinguished from other forms of periodic paralysis in that people with this disorder have normal thyroid function and very low blood levels of potassium during episodes of weakness.
Hypokalemic periodic paralysis is a congenital (present from birth) condition. It can be inherited but occasionally occurs as a result of a non-inherited genetic mutation that affects just the sperm or the egg cell. In most cases, it is inherited as an autosomal dominant disorder (only one parent must transmit the gene for the baby to be affected).
The disorder involves attacks of muscle weakness or paralysis alternating with periods of normal muscle function. Attacks usually begin in adolescence, but they can occur before age 10. Attacks of intermittent weakness that do not begin until adulthood are rare and are usually caused by other disorders.
The frequency of attacks varies from daily to yearly. Episodes of muscle weakness usually last between a few hours and one day. Other forms of periodic paralysis may last longer.
During an attack of muscle weakness, there is a low level of potassium in the bloodstream. Serum potassium levels are normal between attacks. There is no decrease in total body potassium, however. Potassium flows from the bloodstream into muscle cells during attacks.
Insulin levels may affect the course of the disorder in some people because insulin increases the flow of potassium into cells.
Weakness most commonly affects the muscles of the arms and legs, but it may occasionally affect the eye muscles or the muscles involved in breathing and swallowing (which can be fatal).
Although muscle strength is initially normal between attacks, repeated attacks may eventually cause worsening and permanent muscle weakness between attacks.
Attacks may be triggered by eating meals high in carbohydrate or salt, or by consuming alcohol. Attacks most commonly occur after sleep or rest and are rare during exercise, but rest after an exercise period may trigger an attack. The risk is slightly higher in Asian men who also have thyroid disorders (thyrotoxic periodic paralysis).
Risks include having other family members with periodic paralysis.


Meghu said...

If it increases then it can affect the heart of the patient.Potassium increases in the bloodstream, mostly because of kidneys that don’t filter things properly. People can face weakness along with irregular heartbeat and other health related symptoms. Elevated Potassium Levels

Rui Miguel said...

Thank you Meghu for you comments and for participating in this blog.