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...
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.
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.
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.