welcome to Manoukian.org
internal medicine
in silicon valley
let's drink
to the salt of
the earth

Potassium replacement

our office
contact us

Anytime you taking a diuretic afterward about losing potassium from the body.  The purpose of the diuretic is to make your body get rid of sodium (salt) but when it does that, you also lose a little bit of potassium as a side effect.

This effect is more noticeable with strong diuretic like furosemide but it’s also present in the weaker, milder diuretics as well.

One of the problems with potassium is that you can get muscle cramps if your levels get too low.  Another problem is you can get a abnormalities in your heart.  Sometimes a bit too fast   or you get skipping beats.  In the worst case scenario you could die.

So typically we give people potassium tablets to take while they’re taking the diuretic and that releases potassium into your intestines and replaces  what you lost. 

One simple way to do this is just to get some salt substitute.  One common brand is NuSalt.  If you read the fine print, it looks like a small blue saltshaker that says potassium chloride in the ingredients.  If you shake a few crystals onto the food tastes like salt.  If you use too much of a good dozen tastes salty, it tastes like poison.  In fact it is a poison.  Don’t try to make soup with it.  In any case, by using a few crystals throughout the day, it’ll give you a small amount of potassium and you’ll probably absorb all of it is opposed to the tablets where you get a lot off potassium all at once and your kidneys excrete much of it.

Anybody with kidney disease must be extremely careful about using potassium because it can lead to toxic levels of potassium in the blood.  It is something you need to discuss with your doctor. 

One intriguing consideration about potassium replacement is that it can help offset some of the blood sugar effects caused by certain diuretics.

If your potassium levels in the blood remain low despite potassium replacement, have your physician check a serum magnesium level.