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potassium 15, extremely weak and dizzy for a month
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potassium 15, extremely weak and dizzy for a month

thanks very much
my potassium was 15 on the 1st blood test at the ER.  
I had a trach operation and was dizzy/exhausted more than before in life for 1 month after (recovery is 3 days supposed to be).  I still can't sleep well and am exhausted on this small shiley 6
can the ER really mess up a potassium blood test like that?  the doc just put me on prednisone for asthma.  can I do anything to lower my AST/ALT levels?  I was taking 2g/day of methenamine and sodium salicylate for a UTI pain that wouldn't go away on antibiotics, cystex
Avatar_dr_m_tn
Dear ill13632,

The normal range for potassium is 3.5 to 5 and a serum potassium of 15 most likely represents an inaccurate / incorrect result. A common reason for this is that the blood was difficult to draw, leading to hemolysis or damage of the red blood cells. This in turn results in potassium being artificially elevated in the blood sample drawn. In this case, the test needs to be repeated.

Your abnormal liver function tests need to be followed closely and if they remain abnormal additional testing would be indicated. As you point out, both methenamine and high intake of sodium salicylate can contribute to abnormal liver function. Additional tests are usually performed to exclude viral hepatitis and other less common causes of liver disease. An ultrasound may be useful in some cases. I would recommend discussing these results with your family doctor along with the possibility of stopping the methenamine and reducing your salicylate intake.

If the ALT/AST remain elevated then you would benefit from seeing a gastroenterologist / hepatologist.

The issues relating to your tracheostomy are outside of my clinical expertise (cardiology). The best general advice I can offer is to check in with your respirologist and/or trach nurse so that you can review whether you have the right sized tracheostomy? This should be done sooner (ie days) rather than later (weeks-months) given the symptoms you are describing.

Take care and good luck.

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