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Hypokalemic Periodic Paralysis

Hypokalemic Periodic Paralysis is an inherited form of periodic paralysis characterized by attacks in which the serum potassium level is low and respiratory paralysis may occur. Hypokalemic periodic paralysis is characterized by a fall in potassium levels in the blood. Hypokalemic attacks are usually triggered by exercising too strenuously, eating too many carbohydrates, or taking drugs such as insulin. Attacks of hypokalemic periodic paralysis begin in adolescence and may last for a few hours or persist for several days. Some patients may develop a fixed muscle weakness later in life.

Causes of Hypokalemic Periodic Paralysis attacks

Raising your bodies blood sugar too fast can cause an attack. Foods high in simple carbohydrates such as foods high in sugar, fruit juices, bread, cereal products, potatoes, rice and pasta cause your bodies blood sugar to rise quickly. When your blood sugar rises quickly your body quickly elevates your insulin level. Insulin drives potassium from the blood into the cells, which triggers weakness. Also large meals and salty foods can cause an attack in some Hypokalemic Periodic Paralysis patients.

To much exercise can cause a Hypokalemic Periodic Paralysis attack. Many times this comes the day after.

Symptoms of Hypokalemic Periodic Paralysis attacks

  • Weakness may range from slight transient weakness of an isolated muscle group to severe generalized weakness.The heart and muscles associated with breathing  are not effected.
  • Mild attacks are frequent and involve only a limited group of muscles, and may be unilateral, partial, or affecting just one muscle.
  • Severe attacks begin in the morning. Often there has been strenuous exercise or a high carbohydrate meal on the previous day.Patients awake with marked symmetrical weakness.
  • The duration of weakness can vary from a few hours to a week but it seldom exceeds 72 hours.
  • Urinary output is reduced during an attack as water is retained within the muscle cells.




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