hy·​po·​ka·​le·​mia ˌhī-pō-ˌkā-ˈlē-mē-ə How to pronounce hypokalemia (audio)
: a deficiency of potassium in the blood
hypokalemic adjective

Examples of hypokalemia in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Low potassium levels, or hypokalemia, can damage muscles to the point of possible paralysis, cause difficulty breathing from weakened respiratory muscles and prevent kidneys from doing their job. Jocelyn Solis-Moreira, CNN, 11 Mar. 2024 This can lead to a drop in potassium levels in the blood (hypokalemia) and sometimes a condition called metabolic acidosis, where the body produces too much acid or the kidneys aren't removing enough acid from the body. Scott Travers, Forbes, 22 Feb. 2024 The extreme drop in potassium levels (hypokalemia) throws off the ionic balance critical to the cardiac conduction system—which is a specialized group of heart muscle cells that use electrical signals to make the heart muscles contract and pump blood around. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, 25 Sep. 2020 Low potassium levels can lead to hypokalemia, which can cause muscle weakness, spasms, cramps, tingling, numbness and, in severe cases, paralysis. Laura Landro, WSJ, 13 Nov. 2022

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'hypokalemia.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

1949, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of hypokalemia was in 1949

Dictionary Entries Near hypokalemia

Cite this Entry

“Hypokalemia.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hypokalemia. Accessed 20 May. 2024.

Medical Definition


variants or chiefly British hypokalaemia
: a deficiency of potassium in the blood

called also hypopotassemia

hypokalemic adjective
or chiefly British hypokalaemic

More from Merriam-Webster on hypokalemia

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