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AFIB/low potassium
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AFIB/low potassium

When I was in the hospital last week with Afib, they tested my blood and I had low potassium.  Does anyone know if this could have caused my afib or it it likely something more serious? I have since made an effort to eat healthier in an effort to raise my potassium.  I have been eating bananas and other fruits, drinking OJ, and eating  baked potatoes.  How long does it take to raise your potassium level once you begin to make dietary changes?  
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Avatar_f_tn
Low pottasium can cause PVC's and other arrhythmias which includes afib.  Did you ask the doctor in the hospital if he/she thinks it is caused by afib?

The doctor should have told you when to come back for another blood test to see if your potassium is up.  

I'm on precription potassium pills on top of my diet rich in Potassium and I have to have my blood checked every 6 months.

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Avatar_f_tn
I meant did you ask the doctor if the afib is caused by the low potassium?
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16292_tn?1189759421
Well, he kind of ran out as soon as he told me that and he had just told me to follow up in his office.  He didn't come back in before i was released so I did not have a chance to ask him.  Do you know how long it takes to raise your potassium once you improve your diet?
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16292_tn?1189759421
Well, he kind of ran out as soon as he told me that and he had just told me to follow up in his office.  He didn't come back in before i was released so I did not have a chance to ask him.  Do you know how long it takes to raise your potassium once you improve your diet?
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Avatar_f_tn
I really don't know, but a friend of mine had severe low potassium, they wanted to hospitalize her to give her potassium through an IV but she refused and opted for the pills, it didn't take long until her potassium came up, but like I said she had to take the potassium pills on top of the potassium rich diet.  You might want to google it to see if you get any answers.

I have to take the potassium pills because I am on a water pill.
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Avatar_f_tn
Did they supplement you in any way? Do you know specifically what your potassium level was?  Generally, anything below 3.5 is considered low potassium.. I frequently get down to 3.3 area, which i am supplemented for, even though this is a marginal difference.. This is common, about 14% of people seen in the ER have some type of marginal low potassium.. Prolonged QT interval on an EKG can be symptomatic of very low potassium.. If you where not supplemented, my guess would be you where on the low range of normal... Below 2.5 is a level where you need to become concerned.. This is the point (like barbarella mentioned) where arrhythmia becomes a big concern and patients are generally hospitalized and given IV potassium... I think if your doctors thought your low potassium was responsible for your AFIB episode, they would have treated the low potassium.. Just my opinion there though.... As far as how long it takes for your potassium to raise through diet, my potassium will raise from a 3.3 range to a 3.8 ranger about 1 hour after drinking two glasses of orange juice.
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Avatar_n_tn
Certainly a low K can cause afib.  I was put on Zaroxylyn once in addition to my Lasix and ended up in the ER with a rate of 240/min because it sent my level down in the toilet.  I also think if yours was below about 3.4 or so , that they would've treated you for it then and also given you a prescription to take.  Do you take any diuretics at all?    Do you eat a well balanced diet?  Really low potassium does not just happen, imo.  If it was borderline then eating potassium rich foods like you are doing, will keep the level fine.  If it was lower than that, then they should've scheduled a blood test to follow up.
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272728_tn?1194744403
I was hospitalized once for a resting heart rate of 160, and all they could find was that I was dehydrated and had low levels of postassium (3.2). I was treated with an IV with lots of bags of water and I believe it was a bag or two on slow drip of the potassium, and my blood work the next morning finally got me at the target area. I don't take potassium myself, but I do try to make sure I eat a large banana every morning and drink plenty of water, and it helps a lot. I'd say at your follow up, ask your dr about the potassium and if you need to take any supplements. You usually don't need supplements as long as you take in plenty of potassium and drink plenty of water.
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Avatar_f_tn
There is not as much potassium in foods as you think there are. Soil that the foods are grown in have lost their nutrients, so the fruits and veggies aren't getting them. Milk and O.J. are high in potassium. You should probably be on a potassium supplement. I have a defibulator and have a severe potassium deficiency. I have to take 5 pills a day. If you had low potassium it is what caused your afib. You should definately see a different Dr. One who will take the time and listen to you. Thankfully this time you  didn't flatline. It could happen though and you should take this very seriously. If you have a severe potassium deficiency there could also be underlining issues such as kidney problems.
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Avatar_m_tn
hi this concerns me also - todays soils are often depleted and vary from place to place for example our country has low selenium. Ive started potassium and magnesium pills for palps as a test and will see how it goes.
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