Potassium Levels

on 5/28/13 7:32 am - CA

My last round of bloodwork showed my potassium at 3.6, with normal being 3.5-5.3. 


When I went in for my hernia surgery, pre-op (on a Friday) showed it at 2.9 (too low for surgery), so I was prescribed potassium pills to take over the weekend, which supposedly raised me back to 3.9 on surgery day (on a Monday).  The anesthesiologist told me that it had to be a lab error, that potassium levels can't drop that low in a month and come back that much over a weekend.


It's been 6 weeks since my surgery and I still take the pills, just because I was on the very low end of normal.  BUT...since I started taking them, I've been getting leg/ankle/toe cramps something fierce. 


Is this normal?  Am I taking too much?  I never had this problem before I started taking it...

on 5/28/13 7:59 am - VA

I would say contact your PCP, or your surgeon if he's easier to reach, and ask if you should be tested again and what they might advise about the cramping issue. You're electrolytes maybe off and it could include magnesium citrate. Magnesium citrate is also something to try to counter the leg cramps.


5'1" -- HW 195/SW 187/GW 115 July 08/CW 121 Dec 2012

Starting BMI between 35 and 40ish? 
Join us on the
Lightweights Board!
DS on Aug 9, 2007 with Dr. Hazem Elariny

on 5/28/13 8:02 am - CA

Hmmm....the more you know...I swear, I'm learning so much about how everything works together since this surgery!


I'll contact my PCP, see if she can just send the lab form without an office visit (out of sick time and vacation until next month.  Yeesh.)


Thank you!

on 5/28/13 8:02 am - KS

I fought low Potassium levels for about 3 months. My DR told be it takes 2-3 weeks for the levels to get back to normal. If you are taking any kind of water pill for swelling issues, it can/will cause your Potassium levels to drop rapidly.

on 5/28/13 8:10 am - CA

I've been taking HCTZ for ankle swelling for a few years now.  It's the only blood pressure pill I'm still taking.  (Off all the other drugs for blood pressure and cholesterol, yay me!).  I stopped taking it for about a week, kept forgetting to go pick up the prescription. 

on 5/28/13 9:41 am
I take a product called Selectrolytes by Morin Labs. Its a liquid you add to water containing Potassium, Sodium and Magnesium . Its basically a supplement of minerals that help to balance out our systems. Very easy to take -even my DH takes it just to stay well balanced with his minerals.
on 5/29/13 2:38 am

I take extra potassium in the morning and magnesium at night. That combo got rid of my leg cramps.  Another very easy way to supplement on the cheap is to buy the lite salt products, they replace the sodium with potassium and really most Americans eat too much salt anyway.  And if you have edema, it's a good idea to cut back on salt too.

on 5/29/13 6:05 am - AL

Test again.  I use salt substitute which is potassium to keep my levels high enough to prevent those terrible cramps.  My level can be within the normal range and I can STILL have those horrible symptoms.  So I take otc potassium (which is so little I'm probably just wasting money) and I use salt substitute liberally whereever I can.



Most Active
Frustration about information
Shessy · 7 replies · 102 views
Sleeve revision to DS
KikiDee · 0 replies · 22 views
Recent Topics
Sleeve revision to DS
KikiDee · 0 replies · 22 views
Frustration about information
Shessy · 7 replies · 102 views
Is surgery right for me??
Johnsonmomma99 · 11 replies · 216 views
Considering DS after VGS
acaciaj · 9 replies · 265 views