What is hypokalemic periodic paralysis?

Updated: Dec 06, 2018
  • Author: Eleanor Lederer, MD, FASN; Chief Editor: Vecihi Batuman, MD, FASN  more...
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Answer

Hypokalemic periodic paralysis types 1 and 2 are caused by mutations in the CACNL1A3 and SCN4A genes, respectively, and are both inherited in an autosomal dominant fashion. Patients with this disorder experience episodes of flaccid, generalized weakness, usually without myotonia. Patients will have hypokalemia during the flaccid attacks. The disorder is treated by administration of potassium and can be precipitated by a large glucose or insulin load, as both forms tend to drive potassium from the extracellular to the intracellular space.


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