Viewer Comments: Low Potassium (Hypokalemia) - Causes

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Low Potassium (Hypokalemia) - Causes

What was the cause of your low potassium?

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Comment from: Hot Wheels, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: July 22

My low potassium was just temporary, but I am subject to having hypokalemia again. I had taken an extremely long, hundred plus mile bike ride in very hot Texas summer weather, about 108 degrees that day. I did take plenty of water and a bottle of sport drink, but it wasn't enough to keep my electrolytes up. I was sweating like mad, so I drank water to keep hydrated. However, I was losing minerals (including potassium) through my sweat, and water alone wasn't enough to replenish all of my losses. The sport drink was also pretty weak in electrolytes, under those conditions. When I got home, I drank more water and showered to cool down, then I felt okay. However, I then went to a friend's house for dinner. I should have had a snack at home first. Well, we were all sitting around chatting at the table when I began to feel weird. It was hot in that house, as they don't have central AC. I felt myself drifting off, feeling extremely weak and tired, and I got up to go lie down in the spare room and I dropped like a rock and hit the floor. What was odd was that I could still hear what was going on, I could hear my friends calling my name and trying to revive me but I just could not move or answer them. Slowly I woke up, still on the floor. Then they got me to the cool room, stripped my shorts and tunic off, and packed my legs and arms in wet towels and brought some low-salt V8, and within minutes I felt just fine. Then I had some baked potatoes and guacamole and beans for a snack, all great potassium sources.

Comment from: RachelB, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: April 09

I suffer with low potassium, which was actually discovered when I went to the doctors as I had a cough I could not shift. It ended up being a viral infection but as I was getting a lung test he noticed a heart murmur and with that all the symptoms came at once. I would get terrible palpitations and skipped heart beats and leg muscle spasms where I could not bend my knees. I ended up in Accident and Emergency twice because of it. After two months of this they decided to do blood test and saw that my potassium was at 2.3 mg. They put me on 6 Slow-K tablets a day for 6 days and it went up to 3.2 mg and they decided to take me off it again but once I came off the symptoms would automatically start again. I am now on 1 supplement a day with a constant potassium of 3.4 mg. I have been checked for Cushing's and Conn's disease and results were negative for both. My aunt suffers with the same and they believe it could be hereditary.

Comment from: J Kash, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: April 07

I recently was admitted to the ICU of a major hospital when my potassium levels came back at 1.3. I had received a steroidal injection for disc problems. The following morning I experienced general weakness of legs, arms and chest. Returning to the pain management office I experienced near paralysis and had to be taken in by wheel chair. I was taken to the adjoining orthopedic hospital where my blood tests resulted in a 1.5 reading for potassium. A repeat of the test came back with results of 1.3. I was transferred to the ICU where it took three days to raise the potassium to 3.8. Doctors suspect a reaction between the steroid injection and diuretic attached to my blood pressure medication as the cause of the potassium reduction.

Comment from: Lynn, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: September 17

I recently felt extremely ill. Had fever, muscle aches, nausea, and all symptoms really bad! I went to an emergency clinic twice. I assumed I had a virus of some sort. No medicines were prescribed either time. I finally went to my personal physician. He gave me Norco, but really didn't seem very concerned. I actually pushed him for blood work, which he casually agreed to. His assistant phoned me two days later and said my potassium level was extremely low and the doctor sent a prescription for potassium to my pharmacy. She didn't tell me the numbers and I didn't ask. Frankly I wasn't concerned. I've been taking the prescribed medicines for 16 days, and went (as doctor requested) for a new blood test yesterday. I go back to the doctor in two days. I feel horrible! I am exhausted and am barely able to move my neck. I find all of this quite scary! And, after reading everybody's story, I realized, I do use an inhaler with cortisone! (Symbicort). The doctor never mentioned it to me and never told me to stop using it. We'll see what he says in two days. After reading all of these stories, I sure am grateful I didn't have a heart attack! Hope you're all feeling better!

Comment from: mhikl, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: July 29

My mum had a major potassium deficiency problem. She had collapsed on her bed. Rushed by ambulance to hospital, she was found to have a severe potassium deficiency and was told to eat more bananas and potatoes. Over the year she was in hospital two more times with the same problem. I was reading everything I could on potassium and came upon a little paragraph that said that magnesium is the great regulator of the electrolyte family. I bought her magnesium tablets and that put an end to her visits to hospital. It is difficult to overdose on magnesium to the danger point of sodium/salt and possibly other electrolytes. Too much magnesium and one has the trots and it is evacuated. Magnesium is stored in the lining of the intestines (vitamin C also; and only so much can be stored at one time). Too much and the trots follow. It may need to be taken more than once a day. My mum lived twenty more years and died in hospital from an electrolyte imbalance. She did not have her potassium tablets with her. I began using magnesium as well. My night leg cramps immediately cleared up.


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Patient Comments & Reviews

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Low Potassium (Hypokalemia):

Low Potassium - Symptoms

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Low Potassium (Hypokalemia) - Diagnosis

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Low Potassium - Medical Treatment

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