Patient Comments: Low Potassium - Symptoms and Signs

What are your hypokalemia symptoms and signs?

Comment from: Lisa, Female (Patient) Published: July 21

I had my gallbladder removed 4 years ago, and since then I have had to have 6 treatments of IV potassium. The last hypokalemia episode was so frightening. I was admitted to the hospital after entering through the emergency room (ER) department. I thought I was having heart attack. I had stabbing chest pain that would not go away and would last up to an hour, my blood pressure at 196/115, trouble breathing, swelling in my feet up to my thighs; I gained 15 lb in water weight. As I was being admitted to my room by the nurse, I remember saying I feel like I'm going to blackout. I was sweating like I had run a marathon, I was paralyzed, I couldn't breathe, I was hyperventilating, every muscle in my body was in extreme cramp and I was screaming in pain. The nurses called the ER (emergency response) team to my room. After 30 minutes the episode passed and I was given 8 bags of potassium through IV. I took 10 days to recover.

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Comment from: netnana01, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: July 18

I just had my first colonoscopy today. It was so much easier than I had imagined. With everyone saying the preparation the day before was the worst, I decided to try to make things as easy on myself as possible. Saturday and Sunday I ate only soft foods and no meats. Monday through Wednesday, I had only clear liquids. I mixed my GoLytely with lemon flavoring and one pack of lemonade drink mix. To my surprise, it wasn't so bad. I started drinking it about noon on Wednesday and was clear by 3. I went in today and during the procedure was given Demerol and Versed. I remember seeing the monitor of the colonoscopy a few times but absolutely no pain. Thirty minutes later I was headed home feeling just a little tired but otherwise, totally fine. I won't be afraid of any future ones.

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Comment from: streetrodder, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: July 12

I had random episodes of tachycardia, with my heart rate suddenly surging to 160 plus beats per minute. The emergency room doctors couldn't find anything, no indications of a heart attack, no ready explanation. Since I'm a veteran, I went to a Veterans Affairs cardiologist. He took me through all the normal tests and couldn't find anything with my cardiovascular system. Bless his heart, he didn't quit. He looked further and found I had low potassium. I've been on prescription potassium supplements and have only had a couple of incidents since then. Those have been when I was very active and became dehydrated. My challenge is, these episodes usually happen when I'm miles from help (hiking, etc.). I'd like to have emergency potassium replacements with me to limit the risk. Gatorade isn't enough, I'm considering a pediatric electrolyte replacement.

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Comment from: GODS CHILD, 75 or over Male (Patient) Published: June 16

I was undergoing severe continuous headache from 2001 and was diagnosed with idiopathic intracranial hypertension and edema in the eye till 2011. From 2012 onwards I developed idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP), and platelets drop every 6 months. From 2015 December, after IVIG, all reports are normal, and at present platelets are 40,000. After having papaya leaf juice daily it increased to 90,000 right now. Every time I was treated with steroids, I had heavy bleeding in every month's cycle. Presently due to suppression of immune system it has led to tuberculosis (TB) in the neck found after biopsy. At present I am not able to take treatment for TB because I may undergo blood and platelets loss again while treating. For more than 15 years I have been in search of doctors, tests and investigation, and looking for suggestion to improve my health and to lead peaceful life without any fear.

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Comment from: 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: April 08

My cardiologist put me on Florinef to control my low blood pressure. About two months later my legs began to cramp as if I had run a long distance. My doctor checked my potassium and it was normal. Three months later I had a sinus infection but it felt like I had the flu! My heart was racing and my entire body hurt. A few days later the intense leg cramps returned and I was unable to use my fingers or hands. By that night I was not able to walk. My potassium was a 1.7 when I arrived at the emergency room and my EKG was abnormal. I spent three nights in critical care for my hypokalemia. I took oral supplements every 4 hours and eventually had to get a PICC line as the IV did not bring my levels up. It has been a year and I just had my first normal potassium test but it was only 3.7.

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Low Potassium (Hypokalemia) - Diagnosis Question: How was the diagnosis of your low potassium (hypokalemia) established?
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?

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