NCLEX RN Practice Question 435

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  • Hypokalemia is a serum potassium level lower than 3.5 mEq/L
  • Potassium deficit is potentially life-threatening because every body system is affected.


  • Actual total body potassium loss
    • Excessive use of medications such as diuretics or corticosteroids
    • Increased secretion of aldosterone, such as in Cushing’s syndrome
    • Vomiting, diarrhea
    • Wound drainage, particularly gastrointestinal
    • Prolonged nasogastric suction
    • Excessive diaphoresis
    • Renal disease impairing reabsorption of potassium
  • Inadequate potassium intake: nothing by mouth
  • Movement of potassium from the extracellular fluid to the intracellular fluid
    • Alkalosis
    • Hyperinsulinism Dilution of serum potassium
  • Water intoxication
  • IV therapy with potassium-poor solutions
  • Assessment


  • Monitor cardiovascular, respiratory, neuromuscular, gastrointestinal, and renal status, and place the client on a cardiac monitor.
  • Monitor electrolyte values.
  • Administer potassium supplements orally or intravenously, as prescribed.
  • Oral potassium supplements


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