It appears you have not yet Signed Up with our community. To Sign Up for free, please click here....



Heart Disorders Message Board

  • Keep taking the potassium?

  • Post New Thread   Closed Thread
    Thread Tools Search this Thread
    Old 11-10-2004, 03:16 PM   #1
    Gatormom
    Senior Member
     
    Gatormom's Avatar
     
    Join Date: Aug 2002
    Location: Washington DC
    Posts: 123
    Gatormom HB User
    Keep taking the potassium?

    Recently seen for PAC's - had an echo, no problems found. I'm 54, female, on meds for blood pressure and cholesterol and both well controlled. My doctor had me start taking some potassium, the blood test showed it a little below normal. Next test, it was in normal range. My question is: do I keep taking this supplement indefinitely? How do I know if I should stop taking it? Can you have too much? The PACs are greatly improved so is this "fixed" for now, or can the diuretic medication that I take put me back in the low potassium group again? I had taken the HCTZ about 4 years before this low potassium problem came up. Doc is hard to reach by phone - wish she had email - that's why I'm asking here. Anyone have some expertise on this? Thanks!

     
    Sponsors Lightbulb
       
    Old 11-10-2004, 06:23 PM   #2
    Jack51
    Inactive
     
    Join Date: Aug 2004
    Posts: 434
    Jack51 HB User
    Re: Keep taking the potassium?

    Hi Gatormom,

    HCTZ (hydrochlorothiazide) is one of 3 types of diuretics:
    loop, potassium-sparing and thiazide. I have read that it does cause an excess depletion of potassium, but it is not nearly as severe as the loop type of diuretics, such as lasix, when it comes to the depletion of potassium.

    If you continue to take the hctz, I would continue the potassium supplements ONLY if the doctor was monitoring my blood potassium level. I wouldn't stop tommorrow, or immediately, or before speaking with your doctor. If you were to start eating lots of foods high in potassium, while taking these supplements, you could develop hyperkalemia. Remember that many salt substitutes have lots of potassium.

    It took you a while to get low on potassium, so you could get high fairly fast with these supplements. Remember that I just have read about this and have no personal experience with it. I do suspect I am having trouble with too much potassium, due to the heart medications that I am taking. I had a blood test today, but forgot to ask the doc to check my potassium level Glad your PVC's are better Here is some info.

    Symptoms of hyperkalemia:
    Fatigue
    Weakness
    Tingling, numbness, or other unusual sensations
    Paralysis
    Palpitations
    Difficulty breathing



    -------------------------------------------------
    Hypokalemia

    What is it?
    Hypokalemia is a low level of potassium in the blood. Potassium is an electrolyte that is important to the function of the nerve and muscle cells, including the heart. (May also be spelled hypokalaemia.)

    Who gets it?
    Hypokalemia is most common in people with diseases that affect kidney function, people who take diuretics, and people with eating disorders.

    What causes it?
    Most of the body’s potassium is stored inside various cells and organs, with only a small amount found in the blood. The body maintains a balance of potassium in the blood by matching the amount of potassium taken in with the amount excreted (put out) by the kidneys. Hypokalemia occurs when the body releases too much potassium, such as through severe vomiting, diarrhea, or sweating during intense exercise. It also can be caused by a disease that affects kidney function – the kidneys may excrete too much potassium, or may not be able to match their output to the body’s potassium intake. Diseases that can cause hypokalemia include Liddle’s syndrome, Cushing’s syndrome, Fanconi’s syndrome, and Bartter’s syndrome. Certain drugs called diuretics increase the body’s urine output, which can also cause hypokalemia. Hypokalemia can be caused by overuse of laxatives; by eating disorders such as bulimia, which involves self-induced vomiting; and by prolonged fasting and starvation. Although it is less likely, hypokalemia can also be caused by not eating enough foods that contain potassium, and by eating too much licorice.

    What are the symptoms?
    Symptoms of hypokalemia include irregular heartbeat, which can range from mild to severe. Severe cases can result in cardiac arrest and paralysis of the lungs. Other symptoms can include muscle weakness, cramping, or flaccid paralysis (limpness); leg discomfort; extreme thirst; frequent urination; and confusion. Infants and young children with gastrointestinal illnesses that cause prolonged vomiting and diarrhea can die from cardiac arrest when potassium levels become dangerously low.

    How is it diagnosed?
    Hypokalemia is diagnosed by measuring the potassium levels in a blood sample. Normal blood potassium levels are 3.5 to 5.0 milliequivalents per liter (mEq/L) of blood. A patient with hypokalemia will have a blood potassium level lower than 3.5 mEq/L. To determine the cause of hypokalemia, your doctor may also check potassium levels in a urine sample. The doctor may also order a test called an electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG), which measures the electrical activity of the heart.

    What is the treatment?
    Sever hypokalemia is treated in a hospital with intravenous (IV) potassium. In most cases, however, this condition can be treated by increasing the amounts of potassium-rich foods in the diet, drinking electrolyte replacement fluids during intense exercise or for severe vomiting or diarrhea, or by taking a potassium supplement in a dosage recommended by your doctor. It is important to have the potassium levels in the blood checked regularly if you are taking diuretics or other medications that affect potassium.

    Self-care tips
    If you have a disease that affects kidney function or are taking drugs that affect how much potassium the kidneys release, it is important to eat foods that are high in potassium. Potassium is found in many foods such as bananas, oranges, tomatoes, spinach and other green leafy vegetables, melons, peas and beans, and potatoes.

     
    Old 11-10-2004, 06:39 PM   #3
    Gatormom
    Senior Member
     
    Gatormom's Avatar
     
    Join Date: Aug 2002
    Location: Washington DC
    Posts: 123
    Gatormom HB User
    Re: Keep taking the potassium?

    Thanks, jack51 for taking time to answer. Good information. I do think I'll try to leave a message and get a little more detail from the doctor.
    Have a great day!

     
    Closed Thread

    Related Topics
    Thread Thread Starter Board Replies Last Post
    Do CCBs lower Potassium levels or increase it? cartner High & Low Blood Pressure 4 07-27-2009 03:43 AM
    Help me uderstand potassium brutus77 High & Low Blood Pressure 8 06-17-2007 04:42 AM
    What is the best way to keep potassium up? fromthesouth2 General Health 4 04-05-2007 07:13 AM
    keep blacking out twizliz General Health 10 02-08-2007 10:24 AM
    Advise please on use of Potassium supplement yanksgirl Heart Disorders 11 01-17-2007 10:20 AM
    Taking Atenelol since mid-october - dose too high wxKathy2 Heart Disorders 9 01-26-2006 03:14 AM
    Question about potassium bharkins High & Low Blood Pressure 13 05-16-2005 08:17 AM
    Anyone taking a water pill for kidney stones? snodove Kidney Disorders 6 07-09-2004 10:09 PM
    i think this goes here - low potassium... Loud x Mouth Open to All Other Health Topics 2 11-28-2003 12:18 PM




    Thread Tools Search this Thread
    Search this Thread:

    Advanced Search

    Posting Rules
    You may not post new threads
    You may not post replies
    You may not post attachments
    You may not edit your posts

    BB code is On
    Smilies are On
    [IMG] code is Off
    HTML code is Off
    Trackbacks are Off
    Pingbacks are Off
    Refbacks are Off




    Sign Up Today!

    Ask our community of thousands of members your health questions, and learn from others experiences. Join the conversation!

    I want my free account

    All times are GMT -7. The time now is 03:05 AM.





    © 2020 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved.
    Do not copy or redistribute in any form!