As you have seen, the central theme in this series has been the under appreciation of sudden depletions of potassium, usually in the serum, and catastrophic illness, specifically heart attack. However, I ended part III with another equally important discussion. If potassium depletion is having such a large impact on acute cardiovascular disorders, why is it so under recognized? My answer, as you saw, was that most in the health care community do not fully understand the physiology of potassium metabolism and how readily serum potassium levels can drop as the result of environmental stressors that are so ubiquitous and such an integral part of the everyday lifestyles of so many Americans that they are rarely recognized as stressors that can have a catastrophic impact.
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