When evaluating patients for periodic paralysis it is vital to obtain accurate results from blood draws. Because potassium levels which vary only a fraction of a point may be enough to trigger weakness in some patients, the lab may need to be made aware of specialized procedures which should ideally be used to obtain samples for K+ evaluation.
From "A Manual of Laboratory Diagnostic Tests" by Frances Fischbach, Page 247-253.
Potassium (K+) Normal Values: 3.5-5.0 mmol/liter 4.0-4.7 mmol/liter (average)
Hyperkalemic Periodic Paralysis is a genetically determined disorder which causes attacks of weakness and flaccid paralysis. Attacks last from 10 min to 1 hour, very rarely up to 1-2 days. Some patients experience only a few attacks over their lifetime, others have attacks every day. Diagnosis is suggested by attacks of weakness during which the patient's serum potassium is above 5.0 mmol/l or rises at least .5 of a mmol/l above their normal level when not in an attack.
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Parents of some children with Periodic Paralysis will need to work with the school to achieve a plan which will allow their child to reach their full potential. The information in this article reflects the experiences of children in US schools. We hope it will be helpful to parents, school administrators, teachers, school nurses and physicians as they work together.
Life is a daily challenge for the child with periodic paralysis.
Periodic Paralysis poses unique problems for school-age youngsters. Because young PP patients usually look perfectly normal, and may even look extremely muscular and fit, it's hard for school staff to understand what a challenge daily life can be for them. But these children's strength may vary widely from day to day, even hour to hour, which is not just frustrating for teachers to cope with but extremely difficult for the child as well.
The information on this site is based on current medical knowledge but should never at any time be substituted for the advice and care of a properly qualified medical consultant. For medical advice seek the services of a physician.