Which pathogenetic mechanisms cause hypokalemia (low potassium level)?

Updated: Dec 06, 2018
  • Author: Eleanor Lederer, MD, FASN; Chief Editor: Vecihi Batuman, MD, FASN  more...
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Hypokalemia can occur via the following pathogenetic mechanisms:

  • Deficient intake
  • Increased excretion
  • A shift from the extracellular to the intracellular space

Although poor intake or an intracellular shift by itself is a distinctly uncommon cause, several causes often are present simultaneously.

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