Patient Comments: Low Potassium (Hypokalemia) - Diagnosis

How was the diagnosis of your low potassium (hypokalemia) established?

Comment from: shewhite, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: January 30

I had the flu 3 weeks ago and thought I was having trouble getting over it. I thought I was having trouble adjusting to a new mg of Cymbalta. I thought I had low iron, then I thought I was dehydrated. After 4 days of numbness, tingling, extra tiredness, short windedness, headache, nausea, and heart pounding out of my chest, I went to the emergency room (ER). BNP (B-type natriuretic peptide) was 413, EKG indicated I had a heart attack previously and what looked like fluid on my heart on x-ray, and I was sent to a bigger hospital. I was tested for blood clots, heart attack, thyroid; all came out good. I was 'a little low in potassium' and was given 4 pills over 2 days. I inquired before I was sent home about the potassium and again told it was a little low, but on the low side of normal and I could be one of those who require potassium. I was given 7 pills and told to get bloodwork in 7 days from my primary care physician. If I had not ask about the potassium, I don't think she would have given me a prescription to take home. I wasn't told that the symptoms I had could be from the potassium. The insert from the prescription and searching on google told me that low potassium is my problem. Hopefully there is no underlying issue and I can just take potassium. Listen to your body, it knows more than the doctor how you feel.

Was this comment helpful?Yes
Comment from: sunnivara, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: December 01

I ended up in the emergency room (ER) with atrial fibrillation with low potassium at 3.2 according to blood tests. Despite the out-of-normal range and actually being in a state of arrhythmia, the ER doctor did not think I needed to be given any potassium! They did an electrical cardioversion instead. I guess that's much more profitable for them. I'm so disgusted! Don't waste your time on potassium supplements. The amount of actual potassium is so low it's not worth it do to FDA limits. Use a potassium chloride salt substitute instead. A serving of that has almost 6 times what a tablet supplement has. Also, low sodium V8 juice has a good 900 mg dose due to added potassium chloride.

Was this comment helpful?Yes
Comment from: jellybeans529, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: August 11

I started having shortness of breath, like I could not get enough air into my lungs. I had just started hormone progesterone 4 months earlier and thought I had too much in my system, which would cause shortness of breath. By the 10th day of shortness of breath, now followed by dizziness, tingling and cold in my hands and feet, and panic, I went to the hospital. EKG, stress test (an awful test by the way), and an echocardiogram showed nothing wrong with my heart and an ultrasound showed no blood clot. The doctor saw my potassium was down to 3.3 so she gave me 40 mg of potassium. Within 30 minutes, I was feeling better and no shortness of breath, just exhausted. I was discharged and went home. The next day, the same symptoms came on again so back to the emergency room I went. The doctor there told me that it was all in my head and to take the anti-anxiety pill he was going to give me and go home. I fought him tooth and nail and told him to draw more blood and look at my potassium levels. He didn't want to but didn't want to fight me either, so my results came back at 3.4 and he insisted that this was normal even though it was out of range. He was adamant that this 3.4 level would not cause any symptoms. I told him I wanted more potassium and I wanted to get back into range. Thirty minutes after giving me the potassium, I was much better. I was discharged and will be going to my primary doctor to get monitored and back on track. If your lab test results are out of range, don't let a doctor tell you that it is normal, you should not be having any symptoms, and it is just anxiety. Any low level can cause all kinds of problems for different people.

Was this comment helpful?Yes

Patient Comments

Viewers share their comments

Low Potassium - Symptoms and Signs Question: What are your hypokalemia symptoms and signs?
Low Potassium (Hypokalemia) - Treatment Question: What kinds of treatments were recommended after being diagnosed with low potassium?
Low Potassium (Hypokalemia) - Prevention Question: If you have low potassium, in what ways do you try to prevent it?

Patient Comments are not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your physician or other qualified health provider because of something you have read on MedicineNet. The opinions expressed in the comments section are of the author and the author alone. MedicineNet does not endorse any specific product, service or treatment.

Alert If you think you have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately.


Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors