Low Potassium (Hypokalemia) - Causes

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Low Potassium (Hypokalemia).
What was the cause of your low potassium?
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See what others are saying

Published: July 18

March of 2016 I started to experience a very fast heart beat and started to feel my blood pressure rise. I knew something was wrong so my boyfriend rushed me to the emergency room. They never told me how low my potassium was, just that I needed IV. I never had diarrhea or vomiting I was literally fine one minute and close to death the next. They guessed it was due to the diet pills I was using. July 2016 I woke up to my heart pounding but a few days before I remember my legs and arms just feeling locked up and hard to move. I chalked it up to tension because I had been stressed. I told them to check my levels and my potassium was 3.1; to most that doesn't seem very low but for my body it is, I just feel it. He gave me a supplement at the hospital and sent me home and told me to eat more bananas and drink orange juice. They didn’t give me an answer as to why I had it, because I don’t use diuretics, haven’t had diarrhea or vomited, and I eat. They only thing I can figure is a week before I went to the emergency room with sore legs but had a potassium at 3.6. That doctor put me on 2 bags of saline and I think it washed it all out of me because I was swollen for 3 days them started to draw up. Be careful if the hospital wants to give you saline, it depletes potassium levels. Three days later legs are still sore but better. I am waiting to hear back from my doctor with lab tests to make sure it went back up!.

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..