Low Potassium (Hypokalaemia)
- A special case of potassium loss occurs with diabetic ketoacidosis. In addition to urinary losses from polyuria and volume contraction, there is also obligate loss of potassium from kidney tubules as a cationic partner to the negatively charged ketone, β-hydroxybutyrate.
- Hypomagnesemia can cause hypokalemia. Magnesium is required for adequate processing of potassium. This may become evident when hypokalemia persists despite potassium supplementation. Other electrolyte abnormalities may also be present. (low magnesium levels are rarely tested for directly ... low magnesium levels can cause/exacerbate Insulin resistance)
- Disease states that lead to abnormally high aldosterone levels can cause hypertension and excessive urinary losses of potassium. These include renal artery stenosis and tumors (generally non-malignant) of the adrenal glands, e.g., Conn's syndrome (primary hyperaldosteronism). Cushing's syndrome can also lead to hypokalaemia due to excess cortisol binding the Na+/K+ pump and acting like aldosterone. Hypertension and hypokalemia can also be seen with a deficiency of the 11-beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 2 enzyme which allows cortisols to stimulate aldosterone receptors. This deficiency—known as apparent mineralocorticoid excess syndrome -- can either be congenital or caused by consumption of glycyrrhizin, which is contained in extract of licorice, sometimes found in herbal supplements, candies and chewing tobacco.
Low White Cell counts:
- Leukopenia (also known as leukocytopenia, or leucopenia, from Greek λευκό-white and πενία-deficiency) is a decrease in the number of white blood cells (leukocytes) found in the blood, which places individuals at increased risk of infection.
- Causes of low white blood cell count include: Influenza, systemic lupus erythematosus, Hodgkin's lymphoma, some types of cancer, typhoid, malaria, tuberculosis, dengue, Rickettsial infections, enlargement of the spleen, folate deficiencies, psittacosis and sepsis. Many other causes exist, such as a deficiency in certain minerals such as copper and zinc.
- Folate deficiency or influenza are probably what you want to hope for here. Folate can be supplemented (B-Complex or Folate supplements); the flu is short term. Note that B-Complex deficiencies can lead to increased insulin resistance (among other things; B vitamins are also important in preserving neural function ...)
Thus ... Low White Cell Count & Low Potassium are both *potential* pointers to vitamin/mineral deficiencies that can increase insulin resistance (and thus are often seen in conjunction with diabetes, especially T2 diabetes).
However, the combination of low potassium and low white cell counts mi9ght also point to more serious issues such as on of a number of cancers ... hense the extra tests!
Don't get too stressed just yet ... but make sure you do all the tests suggested, and talk to the doctor about what might be causing these symptoms!