Preventive Medicine Expert Forum
Hypokalemia
About This Forum:

Questions in this forum are being answered by medical professionals and experts. Topics covered are Primary Care Vaccinations, Infectious Disease Prevention, Cancer Screening, Cancer Prevention, Cardiovascular Disease Prevention, Heart Disease Prevention, Health Screening (includes non-cancer and non-cardiovascular diseases such as osteoporosis), Preventive Medicines, Healthy Living / Health and Wellness, Weight Loss, Healthy Eating, Pregnancy & Birth Control, Childhood Preventive Care, Tobacco & Alcohol Counseling, Primary Care.

Font Size:
A
A
A
Background:
Blank
Blank
Blank
This expert forum is not accepting new questions. Please post your question in one of our medical support communities.
Blank Blank

Hypokalemia

Dear Dr. Nundy, I was diagnosed Hypokalemia with a potassium level of 3.1 (range 3.5-5.5).  My levels are jumping from 3.6 to 3.1 (multiple times tested low).  Would you consider potssium 3.1 dangerously low, and is it normal for potassium levels to fluctuate by this much?
Related Discussions
1351808 tn?1276904027
In theory yes though I have not personally a level of 3.1 cause an arrythmia. That being said, if one of my patients had a level of 3.1, I would likely work it up (as I discussed in my earlier response) and in the meantime replete the potassium level and re-check a week or two later.

Hope this helps. Next step is to talk with your doctor.

- Dr. Nundy
3 Comments
Blank
1351808 tn?1276904027
Thanks for your question. Hyper-kalemia (high potassium) is generally considered more dangerous than hypo-kalemia; however, hypokalemia can lead to arrythmias or other serious medical problems. More important than the absolute number is the rate of change. If your potassium is chronically low, that is generally less concerning. Potassium levels can vary this much. I've heard it said that a eating a banana increases potassium levels by 0.3-0.4.

Hypokalemia is generally a problem of excess potassium loss. We excrete potassium in stool or in urine so chronic diarrhea and polyuria (excess urination) are common causes. With hypokalemia I'd first be interested in finding out the cause. If that cause is say chronic diarrhea, then the best way to correct your potassium is to fix the chronic diarrhea. If there is no identifiable or easily correctable cause for your hypokalemia you can increase potassium in your diet.
Blank
Avatar n tn
Thank you for your response.  Is a potassium level of 3.1 low enough to cause arythmias?
Blank
Blank
Weight Tracker
Weight Tracker
Start Tracking Now
RSS Expert Activity
233488 tn?1310696703
Blank
Marathon Running Done Over Many Yea...
May 21 by John C Hagan III, MD, FACS, FAAOBlank
233488 tn?1310696703
Blank
New Article on Multifocal IOL vs &q...
May 21 by John C Hagan III, MD, FACS, FAAOBlank
748543 tn?1443740527
Blank
TMJ/TMJ The Connection Between Teet...
01/15 by Hamidreza Nassery , DMD, FICOI, FAGD, FICCMOBlank