Low potassium level affects the physiological functions of various body organs including the cardiovascular system, nervous system, digestive system, respiratory system, and muscular system. Low potassium level causes dizziness and lightheadedness because of a reduced supply of blood. Potassium-rich foods, intravenous potassium, and supplements containing potassium may be administered to manage the condition of hypokalemia.
Can Low Potassium Cause Dizziness?
Low serum potassium level is known as hypokalemia. Low potassium level may be due to the side effects of some drugs such as diuretics or due to some illness. Low potassium level causes light-headedness or dizziness. Feeling dizzy despite enough rest and sleep may be a sign of low potassium levels. Various reasons can be attributed for dizziness due to low potassium level. These reasons include
Potassium is an important mineral that helps in muscle contraction. As the level of potassium gets reduced, the muscular contraction decreases leading to pain and weakness in muscles. Reduced level of electrolytes also induces a low heartbeat. This results in a reduced supply of oxygen to various parts including brain resulting in dizziness.
Poor Cellular Communication
Potassium is one of the important components of electrolytes present in the body. Electrolytes improve the physiological function of the body. Electrolytes help in proper communication between cells, especially nerve cells. Poor cellular and neural communication may also lead to dizziness and confusion. Also, the fluid imbalance because of low potassium may cause dizziness.
Potassium helps in muscular contraction. When the potassium level is reduced, the patient may experience weakness. Weakness is also experienced because of poor oxygen supply. In such a scenario, the patient may have postural hypotension which may lead to dizziness and lightheadedness.
Other Signs And Symptoms Of Low Potassium Levels In Blood?
Reduced muscular function in the digestive system interferes with digestion. Muscles of the digestive system get information regarding the whole digestion process from the brain. Potassium helps in transferring these signals. In the absence of potassium, contraction of muscles of the digestive system is weak and the patient experience bloating and constipation. Some studies also concluded that severe deficiency of potassium may result in complete paralysis of muscles of the digestive system.
Low potassium results in a low heartbeat that may lead to dizziness. Further, potassium regulates the heartbeat and imbalance in potassium concentration that may lead to heart palpitations. Severe deficiency of potassium results in cardiac arrhythmia which is a more serious condition when compared to palpitation.
[Also Read: Causes Of Chest Pain]
Low potassium levels result in rhabdomyolysis. This is due to the reduced blood supply to muscles, a function done in the presence of an optimum level of potassium, causing muscle rupture. This results in pain and muscle stiffness. Patient with low potassium level also experiences muscle spasm and cramps.
The patient with low potassium level experiences various neurological dysfunctions. Almost 20% of the people suffering from mental disorders are diagnosed with low potassium levels. Further, potassium also alters nerve function. This is probably the reason why most people suffering from hypokalemia have numbness and tingling sensation.
Potassium also results in shortness of breath. This may be through various mechanisms that get altered due to low potassium level. Potassium helps in channelizing the information of contracting and expanding of lungs through the nervous system. In severe potassium deficiency, this channel fails to function effectively resulting in shortness of breath. Further, reduced blood supply also causes shortness of breath.
How To Increase Potassium Levels In Blood?
Potassium level can be increased in the blood in various ways. These include
Food is one of the most common sources to maintain an optimum amount of potassium level in the body. Various fruits, vegetables, and dairy products are rich in potassium. Vegetables containing a high level of potassium include spinach, broccoli, sweet potatoes, and fresh tomato. Banana also contains a good amount of potassium. Dairy products such as buttermilk and yogurt contain potassium.
[Also Read: List Of Foods Not To Eat With Liver Enzymes]
Avoiding Certain Medications
Various medications increase the elimination of potassium through urine. If the level of potassium decreases because of these medications, your doctor may advise either to stop taking or may prescribe other medications. Such medications include ACE inhibitors, NSAIDs, ARB, and potassium-sparing diuretics.
If the potassium level goes below 2.5 mmol/L, intravenous potassium is administered. Intravenous potassium administration results in various side effects and thus should be given only in cases where the potassium level is too low or the patient is not able to tolerate the oral form of potassium.
Mild hypokalemia can be managed by providing the patient with potassium supplementation. These supplements are available as over-the-counter formulation and generally comes along with various other vitamins and minerals. However, these supplements should be taken after consulting a healthcare provider.
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