How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask NorthernHeart Your Own Question

NorthernHeart
NorthernHeart, Board Certified MD
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 99
Experience:  Internal Medicine, Gen Cardiology, Nuclear Card, Echocard
70615384
Type Your Medical Question Here...
NorthernHeart is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

How often should I have my potassium levels checked. For the

Customer Question

How often should I have my potassium levels checked. For the last month I have had low potassium from 2.9-3.5. Currently 3.2 . I am on Klor Con 20 once a day and drinking pedialyte. This started when I went on a GERD diet and was having stomach symptoms which have mainly resolved. The reason is unknown as my kidney function is fine but there is a new theory that something pituatary or adrenal may be occuring. I am wondering how often this should be checked, as I am worry about it everyday. I have hashimotos, no meds, TSH currently 4.00 and small mitral valve prolapse.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Medical
Expert:  NorthernHeart replied 1 year ago.
Potassium levels are very labile in the body and can change readily from day to day. That said, if you have demonstrated a range of 2.9-3.5 over the past month, you're starting to build a somewhat safe pattern and can start to decrease the frequency of blood draws. Once a week for a few more weeks would probably be plenty to say you can start backing off and go to every 3-4 weeks. Note, you may get different opinions on frequency of blood draws, as there isn't a lot of data. You're getting into more the art of medicine with your question. Important times to check would be when you have medicine changes, so you can monitor their effects.

With your potassium level being that low, only taking Klor Con 20mEq once daily is a small dose. Are there plans to have you start taking more?

For the potential cause, you mentioned you're not on any medicines, so a common cause of taking diuretics can be ruled out. Are you taking any supplements or over-the-counter natural remedies that may include a diuretic or laxatives?

Have you had your urine potassium level checked? This will help immensely to determine the cause of the low potassium. Do you eat licorice frequently, as this can cause low potassium as well? Once the urine potassium level is checked, you can then be evaluated for hyperaldosteronism, especially if your urine potassium level is high. Also ensure you have your magnesium level checked in your blood, as a low magnesium level will contribute to low potassium levels.

You mentioned GERD. There are severe forms stomach acid secretion which may present as GERD, but are more problematic and need to be evaluated by gastroenterology. If your urine potassium level is low/normal and your "reflux" symptoms persist/worsen, you may need to be seen by a gastroenterologist to evaluate your reflux.

Good luck and feel free to write again if you have more questions.
NorthernHeart, Board Certified MD
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 99
Experience: Internal Medicine, Gen Cardiology, Nuclear Card, Echocard
NorthernHeart and 7 other Medical Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

 

Thank you for very much. No, I am not on laxative, diuretics or anything else. Also, I do have an appt with a GI physician. I'll mention the checking of the urine potassium and the serum magnesium. I don't eat licorice. Thank you so much for you answer, I appreciate it very much :)

 

 

Sue

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

 

Oh and no there doesn't seem to be plans for the increase in Klor con and that is part of my concern with how often the levels should be done to monitor and increase if needed or decrease.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

 

And no, I have not had my urine potassium level check but will request that too :) Thank you for all your advice.

Expert:  NorthernHeart replied 1 year ago.
Glad to hear you're seeing a gastroenterologist. I would pursue the urine potassium level and serum magnesium evaluation, as they are cheap, relatively painless tests that can provide significant information as to the etiology of your symptoms. Good luck and let me know if you have other questions.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Yes, thank you :)
Expert:  NorthernHeart replied 1 year ago.
The system requires I have the last word, otherwise prevents me from answering other's questions. Sorry to put in an empty post.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

 

Dr. Northernheart,

 

Magnesium 2.2, urine output Sodium 103, Potassium 127 and Chloride 137. Aldasterone pending. I am wondering if I should stll be drinking a liter a day of Pedialyte?

 

 

Sue

Expert:  NorthernHeart replied 1 year ago.
Your potassium loss in your urine is inappropriately high in the setting of low serum potassium levels. This suggests a gastrointestinal loss is not the cause, so argues against it being due to your stomach (e.g. gastritis) and/or diarrhea.

Given you're not on diuretics and have a normal magnesium level, this rules out a couple causes of low potassium levels. Other, uncommon issues could be due to being on antibiotics (e.g. penicillin).

Your aldosterone level will be an important next step. If the serum aldosterone level is normal, your next step should be to meet with a kidney doctor, as there can be primary problems associated with the kidneys that cause potassium loss.

Good luck and thanks for the update!
NorthernHeart, Board Certified MD
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 99
Experience: Internal Medicine, Gen Cardiology, Nuclear Card, Echocard
NorthernHeart and 7 other Medical Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

 

Ok Aldasterone should be back Saturday. We'll see :) Thank you. I may update again. I have a nephrology appt I made, in case I needed it. Takes 4 weeks to get into a specialist here since there are not many. Thanks again.

 

 

Sue

Expert:  NorthernHeart replied 1 year ago.
Glad to hear you have an appt with the nephrologist. Sounds like you're doing everything you need to, so I hope it goes well.

JustAnswer in the News:

 
 
 
Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.
 
 
 

What Customers are Saying:

 
 
 
  • I feel so much better today, and upon further investigation believe that there is a chance that the responses I got saved me from a serious, even life threatening situation. I am very grateful to the experts who answered me. Susan O. USA
< Last | Next >
  • I feel so much better today, and upon further investigation believe that there is a chance that the responses I got saved me from a serious, even life threatening situation. I am very grateful to the experts who answered me. Susan O. USA
  • I can go as far as to say it could have resulted in saving my sons life and our entire family now knows what bipolar is and how to assist and understand my most wonderful son, brother and friend to all who loves him dearly. Thank you very much Corrie Moll Pretoria, South Africa
  • I thank-you so much! It really helped to have this information and confirmation. We will watch her carefully and get her in for the examination and US right away if things do not improve. God bless you as well! Claudia Albuquerque, NM
  • Outstanding response time less than 6 minutes. Answered the question professionally and with a great deal of compassion. Kevin Beaverton, OR
  • Suggested diagnosis was what I hoped and will take this info to my doctor's appointment next week.
    I feel better already! Thank you.
    Elanor Tracy, CA
  • Thank you to the Physician who answered my question today. The answer was far more informative than what I got from the Physicians I saw in person for my problem. Julie Lockesburg, AR
  • You have been more help than you know. I seriously don't know what my sisters situation would be today if you had not gone above and beyond just answering my questions. John and Stefanie Tucson, AZ
 
 
 

Meet The Experts:

 
 
 
  • Dr. Thomas, MD

    Board Certified Physician

    Satisfied Customers:

    46349
    Internal Medicine--practice all of internal medicine, all ages, family, also Integrative, CAM, etc
< Last | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/DR/DrThomasMd/2012-7-25_134438_Imagess1.64x64.jpg Dr. Thomas, MD's Avatar

    Dr. Thomas, MD

    Board Certified Physician

    Satisfied Customers:

    46349
    Internal Medicine--practice all of internal medicine, all ages, family, also Integrative, CAM, etc
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/MY/mysticdoc/2012-6-8_15615_mysticdoc3.64x64.jpg Dr. D.J.'s Avatar

    Dr. D.J.

    Board Certified Physician

    Satisfied Customers:

    14679
    MD
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/agketch/2008-7-14_184046_drketchresized.jpg Dr. Ketch's Avatar

    Dr. Ketch

    Board Certified Physician

    Satisfied Customers:

    76
    Medical Degree, Former Assistant Professor at School of Medicine at Yale University
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/FA/FamilyPhysician/2013-8-31_191624_JA550x500Photo.64x64.jpg Family Physician's Avatar

    Family Physician

    Doctor

    Satisfied Customers:

    2562
    Emergency Medicine and Family Practice for over 26 years
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/DR/drappapo/2013-8-16_22576_drdavid.64x64.jpg Dr. David's Avatar

    Dr. David

    Board Certified Physician

    Satisfied Customers:

    224
    Treat children/young adults, former chief resident, multiple publications
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/DrDLove/2009-08-12_141522_DrDLove.jpg Dr. D. Love's Avatar

    Dr. D. Love

    Doctor

    Satisfied Customers:

    11961
    Family Physician for 10 years; Hospital Medical Director for 10 years.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/CO/commissure/2011-4-15_192514_REISD20080926JR1090.64x64.jpg Dr. David's Avatar

    Dr. David

    Board Certified Physician

    Satisfied Customers:

    10667
    Experienced Physician trained in New York City. I'm ready to help.