I just had blood work done and it shows my potassium is too high it says: A5.2 and shows the normal range is 3.5-5.0. Can someone tell me if I should start freaking out?
Not yet. 5.2 is an elevated reading, but not way high. The first thing to be determined is whether you have actual high potassium, or whether the reading was inaccurate.
The labs can erroneously read high potassium if the technique in drawing the blood was not good. While the tourniquet is on the potassium level steadily rises, so for the most accurate reading my doctor has specified that the procedure be (1) tourniquet on, (2) needle in, (3) tourniquet off, and only then (4) tube inserted to collect the specimen. Also, there’s something called hemolysis that can happen if the blood cells are damaged via improper technique. Seek guidance from your physician, but I’d guess that a retest might be in order.
Seek care right away if you get a heart arrhythmia, because high potassium can cause that and should not be ignored.
In my case, I did develop actual high potassium (with no side effects that I could notice). They solved it by discontinuing lisinopril and adding furosemide diuretic. No big deal in my case.
Thank you. I think she did all that , but I can’t be sure. My last test read 4.5, and I’ve been too low before requiring potassium pills, but never too high. I will call my doctor tomorrow morning and see what she thinks.
What on earth are those?
lol I have no clue, but I was given them when I left the ET one time because my potassium was too low. I’m sure that’s what they said they were…maybe they used the word tablets!?!?
Sometimes in summer both I and my wife get muscle cramps due to the loss of salt from sweating (summer temperatures here are typically 80-120F, and we spend a lot of time outside.) Any loss of salt can easily be balanced by potassium intake. Our doctor and other people uniformly said, “Eat bananas” but it turns out apricots are the best and dried apricots are excellent for low BG in my experience:
The RDI (from that page) is around 3g per day. On a couple of occasions when my wife had bad cramps I’ve given her a teaspoon (5ml) of potassium chloride (“no salt” salt, or “sodium free” salt) dissolved in a pint of water; the effect was almost instantaneous. From the food label 5ml is about 2.5g of potassium. Mixing with water does also help the dehydration that comes from sweating and that’s more important that potassium because simply eating enough of balanced diet supplies loads of potassium.
This article seems informative:
The bottom line from the authoritative source with regard to blood tests is this sentence:
Assessing potassium status is not routinely done in clinical practice, and it is difficult to do because most potassium in the body is inside cells. Although blood potassium levels can provide some indication of potassium status, they often correlate poorly with tissue potassium stores [[3 (Potassium - Health Professional Fact Sheet),[9 (Potassium - Health Professional Fact Sheet),[10 (Potassium - Health Professional Fact Sheet)].
(The links are just to references 3, 9 and 10 in the original page.)
I wonder if my addition of regularly drinking SF electrolytes gave me too much potassium this time. I have only ever been normal or too low, never too high as I was this time. I’ll see what the Doctor says. Hopefully it’s just an anomaly and not an indication of anything worsening.
If you drank one just before the blood test I would expect it to alter both the relative balance and amount of all the relevant ionic components in your blood stream. The body will rapidly alter the balances but I don’t know how long that takes (and a quick search didn’t show anything).
Hydration levels fundamentally affect electrolyte levels, but the whole hydration shebang is not well documented, researched or analyzed at all beyond the extremes. This is a review paper in which the authors express considerable frustration about the lack of consistent study data:
The SF Nutrition products should have a food label with the amounts of the four minerals in question (Potassium, Calcium, Sodium, Magnesium), probably worth taking the bottle to your doc if you drink a lot of it.
That’s what I would expect; indeed, not an anomaly, rather an indication of the limited value testing potassium levels in the blood. It’s confusing because some things I’ve seen don’t use mM (aka mmol/L; milli-moles per litre, millimolar) units.
There’s also a lot of web-health stuff out there; there is a lot of money in dietary supplements, so advice from a doctor is to be valued. In this case I suspect it will be “ignore it.”
I took a look at my reports, and historically, it looks like I’ve been slowly going up (4.0, 4.3, 4.5 and now 5.2). I emailed my Endo and asked him if he wanted me to retest before my next appointment, and that unless I hear otherwise, I’ll just do nothing wait till our appointment. His response (or lack of) will let me know if there’s anything to worry about. I was a little jumpy yesterday, but I feel like it’s not a huge deal today. Time really does give me perspective.
You don’t need to wait for the endo, and don’t assume that because you don’t hear from him that you don’t have a problem. Endos are always busy and in exceptionally high demand right now. They treat everything as routine unless a case is referred to them as an emergency.
A consistent trend in average BG over time is a symptom, an indication that something is progressing. It may have nothing to do with diabetes. It could be caused by a problem with your heart, teeth, a cancer, chronic exposure to a toxin or allergen, or be a form of chronic degeneration.
Do you have ANY new symptoms no matter how small. Sleeplessness, tiredness, difficulty concentrating, memory loss,headaches, sweating after a meal, constipation and diarrhea can cause changes in BG and be symptoms of other problems. Have you changed a supplement brand or medication.
If so contact your PCP. A PCP is easier to see when you see a consistent change and suspect something serious is wrong. They can order a Complete Metabolic Panel, which gives a much picture of your physical condition than your BG. A PCP makes fewer assumptions about what you might have. and looks for things that a busy endo treating many patients with diabetes might not think about. You could have a problem that isn’t obviously related to diabetes, such as an intestinal infection. I had one once that went undiagnosed until I became unquestionably ill and could not be ignored. That isn’t health care .
I have 2 changes in the last year: intermittent nausea that feels like I’m really acidic and usually comes mid morning sometimes lasting an hour, sometimes a few hours. It comes and goes isn’t daily, and sinus inflammation, basically had a really bad sinus infection that 2 rounds of antibiotics and steroids never fully healed. The infection is gone, but an X-RAY and MRI show inflammation and I still have post nasal drip so bad I can no longer sleep on my back. Doctor, NET and Endo know and say there is nothing I can do other than nasal rinses. I supposedly have a deviated septum, yet before the sinus infection of 9ish months ago I never once in my life had sinus issues. It’s very frustrating, but I’m getting used to it. I will call my GP and ask for the above mentioned test. Thank you.
I’m not a doctor, but an engineer. What I know about medicine I learned as a very interested, not very patient person receiving medical care, and through research looking for explanations I could understand. I’m good at research, relating my experiences.
This is not medical advice. It’s food for thought.
I recognize those first symptoms. When I first had them they were so severe I was afraid I was having a heart attack. They are associated with many digestive disorders: ulcers, autonomic neuropathy, viral gastroenteritis and gastroparesis. An internist should be able to either diagnose it, or refer you to a specialist who can, if they find the specific cause, not guess at a treatment.
They will probably prescribe a wide spectrum oral antibiotic, which might fix the cause of the immediate problem, or make it worse. It probably won’t help your BG control.
Every time I have taken antibiotics my diabetes management has suffered. I got alternating constipation and diarrhea that took months to recover. This happened to me three times last year, twice for wrist surgery, once for a tooth extraction. My A1Cs rose from the 6’s to the high 7s.
I also used to have low resistance to infections of all types, be their target of opportunity whenever my control slipped.
There’s one thing that helps me to recover from antibiotics faster that doesn’t interfere with non-surgical medical treatment. I eat 55 grams of real plain whole milk yogurt with lunch every day, Dannon when it’s available. To it I add 55 grams of crushed pineapple. I used to do this only until I recovered after taking antibiotics, now I do every day. There are poorly-regulated “probiotics” that supposedly do the same thing. Daily products are better regulated.
Infections are tough because the bacteria, viruses and molds that cause them are mutual enemies. When they aren’t well balanced, when one is killed, one of the others will take over. All of them are becoming resistant to drugs used to fight them. You may have replaced a bacterial infection with a worse viral or fungal one. If you aren’t tested for those, they won’t find them. One that spreads to sinuses is candida, aka thrush. High BG promotes it. It can cause digestion problems. Ask your doctors if they specifically tested for it.
When my tendency to getting infections was at its worst, my wife convinced me to start using oil of wild oregano to treat external skin injuries, and the dried herb for internal ones from a company called North American something. I did this to humor her and continued taking the herb for a year until I forgot to reorder it, and stopped. Since then I have had fewer, milder skin infections. I don’t know whether using the herb produced a placebo effect, if it helped my body to resist infection or if my better control of BG has been responsible. All I know is that I get sick less since I took it. I don’t know what effects it might have on another person, but it’s inexpensive.
I still use the oil of oregano for first aid treatment of cuts and scrapes. It works better than Silvadene cream ( my choice for skin breaks that are deeper or wider) or triple antibiotic ointment, against fungus and bacteria. I take a few drops orally (well diluted) for diarrhea that I suspect is from a “stomach bug”. It tastes and smells awful, but it seems to calm things down faster than Pepto or antacids alone.
Oregano oil is very pungent and has to be diluted with virgin olive oil to 10% to not irritate skin, so if I were to try it on sinuses rather than directly applying or spraying it, I’d try inhaling the vapor gently through my nose and breathe out my mouth.
I hope you get to the root cause(s) of your problems quickly.
Hi there - I actually have high potassium and low salt which is a bad combo. Think my potassium was around 5.9 and salt levels were dangerously low, so low a surgery was cancelled because of it (not a diabetes related surgery). It’s a family thing for me, another sibling has the same problem. I let myself have a few potato chips, maybe 5 or 6, most days and that seems to help. Not sure about any of the health issues are but it seems to keep my salt levels from bottoming out. As for the potassium, no doctor seems to be that concerned. Go figure…
What do you mean by “low salt”, “low sodium?”
Low sodium levels in my body. Extremely low - can’t remember the numbers but I think it was around 130. I’m not at my home so I can’t look up the records I have right now.
It’s the dominant salt in the blood; potassium is more present inside cells than in the blood. I can’t see why it would interact with high Potassium; low Sodium should lower Potassium inside the cells by forcing water into the cells.
Eat salty things and don’t drink too much water? (I know I can produce some adverse effects like headaches by drinking too much water.)
I have low sodium too! Always. It’s never been dangerously low though. In my family, there is only high sodium.
I wish I could remember their concerns but it had something to do with the anesthesia I recall. As in they almost didn’t do the surgery because of my high potassium and low salt levels. It may come to me when I sleep so I’ll update here in the morning.
Just curious, does any one with high potassium levels take the ACE inhibitor Lisinopril? This is a hypertension drug, that also has a protective effect on the kidneys.
Lisinopril can cause increased levels of potassium, or hyperkalemia . Healthcare providers will monitor potassium levels in patients who take lisinopril. Symptoms of high potassium may include nausea, weakness, numbness and tingling, chest pain, irregular heartbeat, and muscle cramps or pain.
Lisinopril side effects, warnings, interactions, and safety information
I take Coversyl - not sure it’s the same as what you mentioned. Used to take Coversyl Plus (with a diuretic) but they took me off that cause of my low sodium levels.