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    Old 01-14-2007, 02:20 PM   #1
    yanksgirl
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    Advise please on use of Potassium supplement

    My doctor just gave me a report that my potassium is 'ok' however, he said it is on the 'low end' of normal--a 3.8.
    I looked up the ranges of potassium and their grades. Normal for an adult is 3.5 to 5.0, so that's why he said that I was on the 'low end of normal'. He said I may want to take a potassium supplement and it may or may not help with the heart palpitations I've been having lately. He said I could call his office for a prescription or take an over the counter supplement, but he didn't say how much to take. Is there just one mg. or what? I'll call his office to be sure, but was wondering if any of you have been given this test and what yours turned out to be and if you're on supplements or not. I take a diuretic for high b/p called Hydrochlorothiazide 25 mg. a day and that's probably why it's a bit low. I'm just not sure I want to take the potassium if the doctor didn't say I 'had to', just that I could try it if I wanted to. Any thoughts? thanks
    yanksgirl

     
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    Old 01-14-2007, 04:44 PM   #2
    holly927
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    Re: Advise please on use of Potassium supplement

    yanksgirl,
    At this point I feel I could write a book on potassium! I have to take very high doses of diuretics to keep fluid off me. I have to blood work done every 3-4 days to check my levels. I'm on 100mg HCTZ, 80mg am/60mg pm of demadex and 100mg of Aldactone. The aldactone is a very weak diuretic but helps the body maintain some of the potassium. I take 160mg of potassium/day which kills my stomach. The pills are like horse pills and each one is only 20mg so I have to take 8 of them. Even with that much my potassium drops alot of times to 2.7 and the docs freak out! Then they make take even more horse pills and drink alot of Orange Juice. (of course my fluid intake is limited so alot for me really isn't all that much!) With your potassium at 3.8 I would try to increase it with foods like Baked potatoes, broccoli,orange juice,apricots. I eat all this stuff and I still have trouble but that along with alot of other heart problems (30% lt ventricle scarred-20% EF) is why I'm on the transplant list. The pills are really hard to swallow so if you can get the count up any other I'd try it. Hope that helps. Holly

     
    Old 01-14-2007, 04:59 PM   #3
    yanksgirl
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    Re: Advise please on use of Potassium supplement

    Wow, Holly! My problem seems almost insignificant upside of yours! I do hope you get a transplant soon! God Bless!
    Thanks, I'll follow that advise and increase, even more, my potassium intake.
    yanksgirl

     
    Old 01-15-2007, 05:35 AM   #4
    Lenin
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    Re: Advise please on use of Potassium supplement

    Let me try to clear this up:

    Quote:
    YG said: He said I could call his office for a prescription or take an over the counter supplement
    THe OTC pills are limited to 99 mg. and thus are a huge waste of money becasue we need several thousand mg./day of potassium. Take the Rx if you are going to take them, otherwise concentrate on eating high potassium foods. One 20 Meq potassium chloride pill /day (prescriptiion) seems like a pretty good idea,

    Quote:
    Holly said: The aldactone is a very weak diuretic but helps the body maintain some of the potassium. I take 160mg of potassium/day which kills my stomach. The pills are like horse pills and each one is only 20mg so I have to take 8 of them. Even with that much my potassium drops alot of times to 2.7 and the docs freak out!
    Those "horse pills" aren't 20 mg. but rather 20 Meq (Millequivalents)...actually each is about 800 mg. PLEASE call your doctor an ask him about that 8/day dosing. THat is a HORRIFICALLY high amout of potassium...like 10 grams. You could do yourself SERIOUS harm.
    Quote:
    Spironolactone (Aldactone) can lower blood sodium levels while raising flood potassium levels. Excessively high blood potassium levels can lead to potentially life-threatening heart rhythm abnormalities. Therefore, spironolactone usually is not administered with other agents that can raise blood potassium levels, such as potassium supplements
    Do you have an adrenal problem that results in too much aldosterone production...something is extremely weird with your potassium metabolism.

     
    Old 01-15-2007, 06:45 AM   #5
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    Re: Advise please on use of Potassium supplement

    Lenin
    Thata why the docs at Cleveland Clinic hate to see me coming. They have decided I don't play well with others as the meds show. What should happen with meds doesn't happen with me! Maybe if it did I wouldn't be where I am right now. Thanks for clearing the dosage on those horse pills though. I wondered why alot of the foods I eat have higher millg. than those darn pills. They are constantly checking my kidney function because of the amounts I'm on and so far they are holding their own!!! My docs do know my dosage and they don't like it either but a 2.7 level of potassium is also dangerous. I do trust these Doctors, I see several because they all in the CHF group at the Cleveland CLinic They all know me and they all scratch their heads! They have kept me out of the hospital for the past 2 1/2 months which is a record for me in the past 2 years so something is working. Its just taking massive amounts of the meds to do the work that really only a few pills should have to do. Again that is one of the reasons I'm on the list because they are concerned with amounts I have to take and what it will do to the rest of my body. To make a long story short, its not just my potassium metabolism that is weird, ITS ME!

     
    Old 01-15-2007, 11:06 AM   #6
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    Re: Advise please on use of Potassium supplement

    Yanksgirl, please be careful with potassium supplements. Unlike other vitamins and minerals, you can really harm yourself with potassium. Please get detailed advice from your doctor on how to use the supplements.

     
    Old 01-15-2007, 04:07 PM   #7
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    Re: Advise please on use of Potassium supplement

    High level of potassium is more dangerous than a low level. The first symptom of high potassium level is an abnormal heart rhythm.

    When a person takes some heart drugs and also eats potassium rich food or takes a potassium supplement, the kidneys cannot always excrete the potassium. In such a situation, the potassium level in the blood can increase rapidly...causing abnormal heartbeats.

    Last edited by started04; 01-15-2007 at 04:08 PM.

     
    Old 01-15-2007, 04:17 PM   #8
    Lenin
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    Re: Advise please on use of Potassium supplement

    holly,

    I KNOW it's hard to move doctors...like moving mountains, except the mountains are often more reasonable.
    But if you are taking 6,400 mg. of potassium per day pluys the anount in food AND taking a potassium sparing diuretic and STILL getting low potasioum, there is something radically wrong, porobably with your adrenals and possibly an aldosterone excreting tumor.

    Quote:
    There are several reasons why potassium may be lost in the urine. By far the most common is the use of diuretics that cause the kidneys to excrete excess sodium, water, and potassium. In Cushing's syndrome, the adrenal glands produce excess amounts of aldosterone, a hormone that causes the kidneys to excrete large amounts of potassium (see Adrenal Gland Disorders: Cushing's Syndrome). Excessive potassium is also excreted by people who eat large amounts of licorice or chew certain types of tobacco. People with Liddle's syndrome (see Tubular and Cystic Kidney Disorders: Liddle's Syndrome), Bartter's syndrome (see Tubular and Cystic Kidney Disorders: Bartter's Syndrome), and Fanconi's syndrome (see Tubular and Cystic Kidney Disorders: Fanconi's Syndrome) have rare defects that interfere with the kidneys' ability to conserve potassium.
    They simply HAVE to find out why you are losing so much potassium...and pumping in more and more is probably NOT the correct way to deal with it.
    It is just TOO RISKY!

    Last edited by Lenin; 01-15-2007 at 04:18 PM.

     
    Old 01-15-2007, 06:34 PM   #9
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    Re: Advise please on use of Potassium supplement

    I agree with Lenin. It is absolutely abnormal to lose that much potassium. Some underlying condition is causing it.

     
    Old 01-16-2007, 04:20 PM   #10
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    Re: Advise please on use of Potassium supplement

    Pvc's and low potassium, This health board is so educated in heart health, thankful to the reads. I had left a message about my most recent holter and the increase in pvc's . I have ran low in potassium for years and follow a very heart healthy diet. Sent home with K-Dur which you put the tablet in water, 3 years ago and since told to eat bananas daily, also a potatoe. I have my potassium and magnesium checked yearly. What if the diet is not enough ? other conditions mentioned do you know of what tests are most helpful? 3.7 was my results last year and will re-check this week. No more palps!

     
    Old 01-17-2007, 06:56 AM   #11
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    Re: Advise please on use of Potassium supplement

    dktad,

    That's very CLEVER..."dissolve the tablet in water." I never THOUGHT of that!
    I swallow the PILL instead and it's a BIG one, got stuck a couple times.

    How does the dissolved KCl taste? Pretty yeccchy I would imagine.

     
    Old 01-17-2007, 10:20 AM   #12
    yanksgirl
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    Re: Advise please on use of Potassium supplement

    I really appreciate all your comments on my question. I am eating more calcium rich food and at the moment, my PVC's are much better. If they recur, I'll check with my doctor regarding a supplement. Thanks again for all your great comments. This board is 'so helpful' in sorting out information.
    yanksgirl

     
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