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Case Reports in Endocrinology
Volume 2014, Article ID 483835, 2 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/483835
Case Report

Life-Threatening Hypokalemic Paralysis in a Young Bodybuilder

Departments of Medicine and Therapeutics, Prince of Wales Hospital, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, 30-32 Ngan Shing Street, Shatin, New Territories, Hong Kong

Received 3 December 2013; Accepted 8 January 2014; Published 11 February 2014

Academic Editors: B. K. Irons and X. Zhang

Copyright © 2014 Kitty K. T. Cheung et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

We report a case of life-threatening hypokalemia in a 28-year-old bodybuilder who presented with sudden onset bilateral lower limbs paralysis few days after his bodybuilding competition. His electrocardiogram (ECG) showed typical u-waves due to severe hypokalemia (serum potassium 1.6 mmol/L, reference range (RR) 3.5–5.0 mmol/L). He was admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) and was treated with potassium replacement. The patient later admitted that he had exposed himself to weight loss agents of unknown nature, purchased online, and large carbohydrate loads in preparation for the competition. He made a full recovery after a few days and discharged himself from the hospital against medical advice. The severe hypokalemia was thought to be caused by several mechanisms to be discussed in this report. With the ever rising number of new fitness centers recently, the ease of online purchasing of almost any drug, and the increasing numbers of youngsters getting into the bodybuilding arena, clinicians should be able to recognize the possible causes of sudden severe hypokalemia in these patients in order to revert the pathophysiology.