A deficiency of potassium in the blood.

The reference range for serum potassium level is 3.5-5 mEq/L, with total body potassium stores of approximately 50 mEq/kg (ie, approximately 3500 mEq in a 70-kg person).

Hypokalemia is defined as a potassium level less than 3.5 mEq/L.

Moderate hypokalemia: serum level of 2.5-3 mEq/L.
Severe hypokalemia: serum level less than 2.5 mEq/L.

Common symptoms:


Renal losses
G.I. losses Medication effects Transcellular shift Malnutrition or decreased dietary intake, parenteral nutrition


Etymology: New Latin, from hypo- + kalium potassium (from kali alkali, from Arabic qily saltwort) + -emia

Date: 1949

- hy·po·ka·le·mic /-mik/ adjective