Low potassium levels secondary to diuretic treatment


Q: I recently went into the ER with veritgo.. They said my potassium was low(at a 3) what is the range? I am on a water pill with my blood pressure meds. But they didnt seem to be concerned with that. Also, does low potassium trigger veritgo?


A:   Symptoms of low potassium (hypokalaemia) include: muscle weakness, myalgia, constipation, tetany and cardiac arrhythmias. Normal serum potassium levels range from 3.5 – 5.0 mEq/L, therefore a level of 3 is low. I would be suspicious that this is a side-effect of diuretic treatment for your high blood pressure. Often if potassium levels are low, magnesium levels may be low also, and low magnesium levels can cause vertigo. I would advise getting your levels checked with your family doctor, and if chronically low, consider an alternative diuretic, such as a potassium-sparing diuretic.

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