Genetic Considerations

Hypokalemia is a feature of various disorders that can have genetic etiology. These include Bart-ter syndrome, a group of several disorders of impaired salt reabsorption in the thick ascending loop of Henle, hypochloremia, hypokalemic metabolic alkalosis, and hypercalciuria. Mutations in the Na-K-2Cl cotransporter gene (BSC) are often involved. The disorder hypokalemic periodic paralysis is inherited as an autosomal dominant pattern. It features intermittent episodes of muscle weakness or paralysis that can last from several hours to days. Gitelman syndrome is a disorder with hypokalemic alkalosis, low urinary calcium, and hypomagnesemia. It is transmitted in an autosomal dominant pattern.

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