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Causes of Low Potassium & Low Calcium

by
author image Martin Hughes
Martin Hughes is a chiropractic physician, health writer and the co-owner of a website devoted to natural footgear. He writes about health, fitness, diet and lifestyle. Hughes earned his Bachelor of Science in kinesiology at the University of Waterloo and his doctoral degree from Western States Chiropractic College in Portland, Ore.
Causes of Low Potassium & Low Calcium
Causes of Low Potassium & Low Calcium Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Creatas/Getty Images

Numerous conditions can cause low potassium and low calcium levels. Low levels of potassium in your blood is called hypokalemia, and low levels of calcium in your blood is called hypocalcemia. According to MedlinePlus, hypomagnesemia -- low levels of magnesium in the blood -- can be caused by numerous factors and medical conditions. If you have hypomagnesemia, you may also have low potassium and low sodium levels. In fact, hypokalemia and hypocalcemia are intimately associated with hypomagnesemia.

Malnutrition

Malnutrition can cause decreased potassium and calcium levels. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, or UMMC, malnutrition occurs when you fail to consume adequate amounts of nutrient-rich food, or if you have a medical condition that impairs nutrient absorption from your food. Malnutrition remains a significant public health problem in many parts of the world, especially among children. The UMMC states that poverty, natural disasters, political upheaval, war and epidemics may all contribute to malnutrition. Common signs and symptoms associated with malnutrition include low potassium and calcium levels, fatigue, depression, weak immune system, increased infections, low red blood cell count, muscle weakness, lung problems and poor skin integrity. According to the UMMC, in most cases, malnutrition can be prevented by consuming a healthy and well-balanced diet.

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Hyperaldosteronism

Hyperaldosteronism can cause decreased potassium and calcium levels. The National Adrenal Diseases Foundation states that hyperaldosteronism is a disease caused by increased production of the hormone aldosterone. Aldosterone is responsible for sodium and potassium balance within your body. There are two principal types of hyperaldosteronism: primary and secondary. Primary hyperaldosteronism is caused by problems with your adrenal glands, whereas secondary hyperaldosteronism is caused by problems outside your adrenal glands. Common signs and symptoms associated with hyperaldosteronism include low potassium and calcium levels, fatigue, headache, elevated blood pressure, intermittent paralysis, muscle weakness and numbness. According to MedlinePlus, impotence and gynecomastia -- enlarged breasts in men -- are possible complications associated with consumption of spirolactone -- a common medication used to treat hyperaldosteronism.

Alcoholism

Alcoholism can cause low levels of potassium and calcium in your body. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcohol, alcoholism, also known as alcohol dependence, is a common disease that is characterized by four principal features, including the strong need, or urge, to drink, an inability to stop drinking once you have begun drinking, withdrawal symptoms once you stop drinking and the need to drink greater amounts of alcohol to get high. Common signs and symptoms associated with alcoholism include low potassium and calcium levels, depression, nerve damage, brain damage and dementia, memory loss, esophageal bleeding, heart muscle damage, elevated blood pressure, insomnia, sexual dysfunction and pancreatitis. MedlinePlus states that only 15 percent of people with alcoholism seek treatment for this disease.

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