Discussions that mention potassium

Lupus board

Hi everyone,

I went through something extremely scary yesterday, and wondered if anyone here can relate?

This is definitely not the first time it has happened, in fact I've been dealing with this for a good year and a half, but yesterday morning when I tried to exercise a little (I'm finally taking some vacation time from work, and decided I needed to force myself to do a little, since I haven't felt up to doing much aerobic activity these days),and only 10 or 15 minutes into it, I got very weak, lightheaded, heart was racing so fast, and afterwards, was having heart palpitations, and feeling somewhat nauseous, and extremely weak. It is SO frustrating, because before all of my health problems began, I used to be extremely active, and faithful with exercise, starting at about the age of 10. I still try to get moderate amounts whenever my body lets me, and I make a point of eating very healthy. I just don't understand how I can get so weak and ill-feeling so fast these days after just a very small amount of exercise. Sometimes it is worse than others, but yesterday was one of those extremely frightening times.

Has anyone had this happen, and have it affect you for the remainder of the day once you've tried exerting yourself at all? I was very scared after I continued feeling that way for hours later, I tried to run an errand in the car, and kept feeling like a rag doll, and wanting to close my eyes, and kept having the heart flutters off and on. By the time I got home, and was resting without that helping either, I was on the verge of taking myself to the ER, since I kept feeling worse, and then started researching like crazy on the internet to see if anything sounded like what a doctor might diagnose me with. Somehow, I came across a post or article about low potassium, and the symptoms fit me perfectly it seemed. It was the only thing I could think of that might possibly be wrong, besides maybe having something wrong with my heart (which I hope so much isn't the case). I decided it was worth a try to find anything in the house that had high potassium, and there were some left-over bananas sitting around, that I thought I'd better at least try one to see if it helped, before I spend all of the time and money on more medical bills. That, along with some pomnegranate juice that was in the fridge, and looked like it had a good amount of potassium. I waited about another 45 min. or so, and believe it or not, it truly started to feel like I finally wasn't having the heart flutters, and I could actually sit up on the couch without feeling like I was going to die.

I know this all might sound crazy, but has anyone else had this experience??
And has anyone with lupus found out they have low potassium for some reason? I read that some medications can cause it, and I am only on Plaquenil, Levoxyl, and a small dose of Celexa, along with some allegra I have been taking for allergies lately.

The one last interesting thing I read about low potassium, is that black licorice has a substance in it that can lower potassium levels, and I had been eating a few pieces over the last few days that I bought from a health food store. Could that have possibly caused me to get so low in potassium after just a few pieces?

Like I said, I have had symptoms like this happen often in the last year or so, and I just want to figure out why it happens, because it is so scary, and seems so abnormal.

Anyway, thank you to anyone who was willing to read this, and might be able to respond. :confused:

Hi Lisa,
Yes, I have had similar symptoms. About a year and a half ago I was on HCTZ for high blood pressure. Even tho it was a low dose, I felt sick while taking it. The dr pressured me into taking more of it and I was up in the night with pounding heart, feeling weak and sick to my stomach. So I told the dr that I couldn't tolerate the diuretic. Shortly after that I was diagnosed with Lupus. In my research I found info on potassium and magnesium--they are the 2 most prevalent minerals inside our cells. First is potassium--a major positive ion inside the cell. Second is magnesium which is important in the formation of bone & teeth and provides for normal nerve and muscle function. So, I started supplementing & changing my diet to make sure to include those 2 and I felt soooo much better. Still weak on some days, but much better than that year I was on the diuretic! I also take the name brand Plaquenil, but only the one tablet per day. Hope you are feeling better!