HEART DISEASE
COMMUNITY
Low Potassium level (3.3)
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by AllyApple2458, Jul 13, 2010
I've just been diagnosed with low potassium level (3.3). Until now (52) I've had no medical problems at all.  My Mum died at 55 due to athero sclerosis and ischaemic heart disease. Do you think there's a link?
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Member Comments (7)
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by kenkeith, Jul 13, 2010
There is a hereditary component to some heart disease so it is usually good advice to reduce all known risk factors such as lack of proper diet, not exercising, smoking, etc.

The normal potassium level in the blood is 3.5 to 5.0 mEq/L. Any level below 3.5 mEq/L is called as "low potassium level". For some insight, one out of 5 people hospitalized in the United States,  has a low potassium level. When the potassium level drops to less than 2.5 mEq/L then the condition is life-threatening and in need of emergency medical attention. The effects of low potassium in the body is the formation of a potentially fatal state called as "Hypokalemia". Severe conditions of this disease leads to:
•serious arrhythmias
•muscle weakness and myalgia
•disturbed heart rhythm
•more risk of hyponatremia with confusion and seizures.

Low potassium (hypokalemia) has many causes. The most common cause of low potassium is excessive potassium loss in urine or from the digestive tract such as due to:

Certain diuretics — water pills
Diarrhea
Eating disorders
Excessive use of laxatives
Chronic kidney failure
Primary aldosteronism
Vomiting
Rarely, low potassium is due to not getting enough potassium in your diet.

Hope this helps.  Take care and thanks for sharing your thoughts and concern.
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by ed34, Jul 14, 2010
My wife had low potassium in 2004 and the hospital gave her pills to top it up. These made her vomit violently but they insisted she keep taking them. After two days I was fed up with it and went to the local fruit shop and purchased a bunch of bananas. We said nothing to the Nurses, but each time she was give a pill, I threw it away and gave her a banana. The following day her Potassium was perfectly normal, and has been to this day. Oh, we stopped the bananas when she left hospital.
I personally believe trying to force vitamins, minerals, metals in the body via pills isn't always the best option, it's too much in raw form. I believe natural foods are the best option, the way nature intended.
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by ireneo, Jul 14, 2010
My Mom ended up in the hospital one time of many (that's a long story) and they found nothing wrong with her except her potassium level was low. Their suggestion was to eat a banana a day. Another good source of potassium is dried apricots for those of you that get sick of bananas.
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by pharaoh0409, Nov 27, 2013
I have been sweating profusely  on exertion for over a month.  My Internist had no clue what was going on. I was miserable.  We scheduled a stress test on my heart.  It got screwed up.  A few days later, I had chest pain, tightness in my chest and pain going down my left arm.  The pain was about a 2 on a scale of 1-10 but I wasn't taking any chances.  The ER kept me overnight.  The Cardiologist (and I use t)hat term loosely) assured me I had nothing wrong with my heart because on my past Cath and chemical stress test.  An hour after he left my room, eight bags of potassium were brought to my room for IV administration along with 3 giant potassium pills to take 2 hours apart during the night.  My level was 2.6 from the sweating.  My stress test was fine.  Low potassium is a killer.  Don't wait.  See a physician or cardiologist if you have symptoms.  Good range is 3.6 to 5,1.  It can also be high & dangerous.  Look up that range.  Good luck.