Tuesday, 13 August 2013
Hypokalemia (American English) or hypokalaemia (British English), also hypopotassemia or hypopotassaemia (ICD-9), refers to the condition in which the concentration of potassium (K+) in the blood is low. The prefix hypo- means "under" (contrast with hyper-, meaning "over"); kal- refers to kalium, the Neo-Latin for potassium, and -emia means "condition of the blood."
Normal plasma potassium levels are between 3.5 to 5.0 mEq/L; about 98% of the body's potassium is found inside cells, with the remainder in the extracellular fluid including the blood. Alternately, the NIH denotes 3.7-5.2 meq/L as a normal range.  Thisconcentration gradient is maintained principally by the Na+/K+ pump.