Is there an association between potassium levels and blood clots? Understanding the role of potassium in the body can help answer this question. Potassium is essential for maintaining the body’s heartbeat. It also plays a major role in the body’s ability to maintain adequate water balances and cellular integrity.
Potassium deficiencies can affect brain cells. One of the main influences of potassium is the maintenance of blood pressure, though exactly how this occurs is still not quite clear to researchers. What is clear is that potassium has the potential to facilitate protein synthesis and fluid balances in the body. Fluid balances not only include water, but can also involve the viscosity or the thickness of blood inside and outside of cellular structures.
Sluggish blood does have a potential of increasing the risk of blood clot development. So too does the “stickiness” of blood cells themselves, which can be affected by a number of chemical and hormonal imbalances in the body.
Some of the side effects of low potassium levels in the body can in turn trigger an increased risk of blood clot development.
Abnormal potassium levels
Abnormal potassium levels – either too high or too low - affects body systems including the musculoskeletal, cardiovascular, endocrine system, and urinary systems. In some cases, low potassium levels may lower blood pressure. Low blood pressure reduces or slows the amount of blood is flowing through the arteries and veins. This sluggishness is not only dangerous due to potential lack of blood flow to vital organs such as the heart and the brain, but can also increase the risk of blood clumping in an artery or vein.
The relationship between vitamin K (a necessary component to blood clotting capability) and potassium is also confusing to many. However, the two have very different functions. Vitamin K is essential in blood clotting capability. It increases the ability of blood to clot, but it doesn’t “thicken” blood - it simply increases release of clotting factors that help the blood to clot.
Potassium is essential for the body’s ability to contract muscle, including the heart muscle. Adequate levels of potassium decrease blood clotting capability for some, depending on certain factors and other enzymes.
If you’re curious about your potassium levels and their potential effect on cardiovascular health and wellness, schedule a consultation with your physician.