The Right Sodium/Potassium Balance. Decreasing sodium and increasing potassium intakes can help control your blood pressure and lower your risk of heart disease, heart attacks and strokes. Sodium. This mineral is essential for life, but most people consume too much.
Complications of Low Potassium
Complications associated with low potassium levels include problems with muscles and problems with the heart. Muscles in the body may cramp, feel weak or spasm. Muscle fibers may also begin to break down and release into the blood, causing damage to the kidneys. Eventually paralysis may occur and involve paralysis of the lungs, according to MedlinePlus. Abnormal heart rhythms are a potential side effect and are likely for people with heart disease. Fatigue and constipation are also possible complications of low potassium.
Complications of Low Sodium
Like potassium, having slightly low sodium levels may not cause any distinguishable symptoms. Chronic low sodium levels are much more likely to sneak by undetected than sudden drops in the electrolyte. Possible symptoms of low sodium levels include muscle spasms, nausea, fatigue, irritability and headache. Without proper treatment low sodium can cause a person to experience confusion, hallucinations and a decreased level of consciousness, according to MedlinePlus. The altered level of consciousness may include stupor and coma. These brain complications occur because the low sodium levels cause the cells in the brain to swell.
Connie’s comments: My 82 yr old was feeling dizzy in the morning, so I gave her potassium tablet in the morning and added more whole foods rich in potassium. And she also takes calcium and magnesium in the afternoon to help balance sodium and potassium in her body.
Sodium and potassium are both minerals essential to water balance and healthy nerve function. It is common in the American diet for a person to consume too much sodium and too little potassium. High sodium levels and low potassium intake appear to lead to high blood pressure and heart disease, according to Harvard School of Public Health. Magnesium can play a small role in helping you regulate the balance of potassium, sodium and other electrolytes in your body.
Sodium and potassium function as a pair of nutrients that determine the potential for cell signaling in your body. Potassium is known as an anion when it is broken down because it has more electrons than protons and carries a negative charge. Sodium is known as a cation because it has more protons than electrons and carries a positive charge. When there is ample potassium inside of your cells and sodium outside of your cells, proper cell signaling from your nervous system can take place.
Magnesium’s role in the balance of sodium and potassium is that of an intermediary. Potassium is unable to cross the cell membrane on its own, and requires magnesium to unlock the door for its entrance. Once the cell membrane is open, the cell can absorb all of the potassium it needs for a proper balance. This process of achieving sodium and potassium balance accounts for 20 to 40 percent of the resting energy your body expends, demonstrating how crucial it is to healthy body function.