Serene Forest

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

What is Hypokalemic Periodic Paralysis?

Hello All,
As each day has passed since New Year's Eve, I have gained strength and am doing better, but there is still an underlying weakness and an "on-the-edge" feeling that is almost always present. I also have a "brain-fog" issue and that makes writing and other activities with a great deal of concentration, difficult at times. I may not write a blog every day due to this problem. I am now playing "catch-up," as I begin to feel a little better.

I have chosen to write about
Hypokalemic Periodic Paralysis also know an Familial Hypokalemic Periodic Paralysis. I wrote about Hyperkalemic Periodic Paralysis several weeks ago and had such a large response, I decided I must give equal time to the opposite form.

What is Hypokalemic Periodic Paralysis?

Hypokalemic Periodic Paralysis is a form of Periodic Paralysis, a very rare, hereditary metabolic disorder also called a channelopathy. If an individual has Hypokalemic Periodic Paralysis they become partially or fully paralyzed intermittently. The paralysis results from potassium moving from the blood into muscle cells in an abnormal way. It is associated with low levels of potassium (hypokalemia) during paralytic episodes

When potassium shifts into lower ranges in normal individuals, it is called hypokalemia. Low potassium levels in the blood will occur for anyone and a myriad of symptoms may be experienced and can be dangerous, even deadly. If an individual has Hypokalemic Periodic Paralysis and potassium shifts into lower ranges, he or she can and will experience a combination of the same myriad of symptoms as well as paralysis and can be equally as dangerous and deadly.
When potassium levels are low which is usually between 2.5 to 3.5 mEq/L, the following symptoms can occur: tiredness, pain in the muscles, cramping, upset stomach, constipation, lightheadedness, depression, mood swings.

Potassium levels below 2.5 mEq/L affect many functions of the body including the muscles, digestion, kidneys, electrolyte balance, the liver and the heart.

Muscles: fatigue, pain in the joints, muscle weakness, muscle weakness after exercise, muscle stiffness, muscle aches, muscle cramps, muscle contractions, muscle spasms, muscle tenderness, pins and needles sensation, eyelid myotonia (cannot open eyelid after opening and then closing them).
Digestion: Upset stomach, loss of appetite, vomiting, constipation, diarrhea, bloating of the stomach and full feeling in the stomach, blockage in the intestines called paralytic ileus.
Heart: Anxiousness, irregular and rapid heartbeat, angina, prominent U waves, inverted or flattened T waves, ST depression, elongated PR interval.

Kidneys: Severe thirst, increased urination, difficulty breathing, too slow or shallow breathing, lack of oxygen in the blood, sweating, increased blood pressure, metabolic acidosis.
Liver: The brain function becomes affected: Irritability, decrease in concentration, lack of clear thinking, confusion, slurring of speech, seizures.

Paralysis: Episodic muscle weakness, episodic partial paralysis, episodic total paralysis episodic flaccid paralysis (limp muscles, without tone).

Laboratory blood changes: Increased number of neutrophils in blood, increased number of white blood cells in the blood, reduced number of eosinophils in blood, increased number of lymphocytes in blood, low blood sodium, low blood potassium, elevated Serum CPK (creatine).

Laboratory urine changes: excess protein in urine, excess sugar in the urine, excessive acetone in urine, and presence of renal casts in urine.
An individual with Periodic Paralysis may have his or her own individual levels of potassium at which symptoms or paralysis occurs. What may be normal ranges for someone may be high for another. Using a potassium reader to discover one's high, normal and low ranges is suggested, for better treatment.

Factors which can trigger attacks are: excessive carbohydrates, alcoholic beverages, sodium/salt, viruses, certain medications, epinephrine, cold, anesthesia, excitement / fear, exercise, and rest or sleep (all phases).

Attacks of paralysis may be reduced by:
Eating high potassium foods, staying warm, staying well rested, staying hydrated, avoiding drugs that decrease potassium levels, avoiding known triggers such as stress, exercise, carbohydrates, and salt.

Some drugs, which can be effective for treating the symptoms, are available for individuals with Hypokalemic Periodic Paralysis but they should be used with extreme caution due to serious side effects.

Until later...


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