What can cause low potassium?

1 answer | Last updated: Oct 22, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

I was wondering how someone can develop low potassium? I know that vomiting can lead to it, as well as bad kidneys, etc... Any other causes? Thanks!

Expert Answers

Jennifer Serafin, N.P. is a registered nurse and geriatric nurse practitioner at the Jewish Homes for the Aged in San Francisco.

The most frequent causes of low potassium are:

1) Medications: diuretics (like lasix, metalazone, hydrochlorothiazides), blood pressure medications (like lisinopril), prednisone, some antibiotics (like gentamycin)

2) Gastrointestinal losses: vomiting, diarrhea, laxative overuse

3) Lack of potassium in diet

4) Kidney diseases: Cushing syndrome, adrenal tumors, renal artery stenosis

Hope that is helpful!