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I first started posting here right before a trip to the ER. My worst symptoms were dizziness, nausea, numbness tingling in the arms legs, apnea, High heart rate, restless leg syndrome, trouble breathing, pressure in the neck and chest, lightheadedness, (I have many more things going on but those are the one I related to neurology.) Anyway. Someone had told me it could be low Magnesium causing the problems, so I started taking 900 mgs, daily. Also in reading about POTS I started eating extra salt since my blood pressure was on the low side I thought why not. In spite of that, after a week or so of getting really weird times of numbness, difficulty breathing, weird feelings in my limbs, I wound up going to the ER because it got so bad it scared the **** out of me. It felt like I was almost paralyzed, and didn't even want to move my mouth to get words out. Plus the pressure I had been feeling in my chest and throat got worse and it got harder to breathe. Anyway, They were mostly concerned about my heart, and kept me in the hospital for a few days. It checked out okay. What I found interesting was that as soon as the blood tests came back they said I was low in Electrolytes and gave me several bags of fluids through an IV. In fact I was on it most of the 2 and a half days I was there. And I still left with the magnesium a little low. So since then I have upped my Magnesium to 1150 a day. Any more seems to give me diarrhea. I started taking calcium, and more salt, also the doctor prescribed Potassium. What I am wondering about is does anyone else have problems with their Electrolytes? They didn't give me an explanation about why they got so low. They suggested diarrhea since I had it in the hospital. But I was actually constipated until I went to the hospital. I didn't get diarrhea until afterthe Electrolytes had already dropped. I guess I?m just trying to figure out where low Electrolytes fit in, and if anyone else has problems with them?

Sue

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actually, i was just about to post this exact same question. and you beat me to it.

<_< nuts

my query was going to be specific to potassium. cause i have now had 3 blood tests that have showed low potassium.

the first was two summers ago, the second was last year, and the third was 3 weeks ago. but i have had blood tests in between those that have shown up normal (those being at times that i was making a conscious effort to get enough potassium). so it seems like i'm predisposed to this unless i watch it carefully.

the correlation i have noted is an increase in 'panic attack' type symptoms. (i.e. impending feeling of dread, difficulty breathing, chest constriction). although it doesn't seem to increase my palps or tachycardia per. se.

i was also given potassium saline in my IV when i was in hospital last year instead of the regular saline. had a bolus. 8 litres in 8 hours. was pretty dehydrated.

interestingly, non-selective beta-blockers (but also just beta-blockers in general) bump up the level of your serum potassium, by decreasing it's uptake from your bloodstream into your cells. so if your serum potassium already looks low on a blood test (and you're on a high dose of beta-blockers) yikes, i wonder how little your body's cells actually have? i'm on a beta-blocker, and was during my last blood test...

electrolytes vary in how easy it is for us to become low in them. phosphorous is in almost everything. it's nearly impossible to become deficient. sodium is pretty hard too. a little less so calcium and magnesium. potassium is the easiest to become deficient in, and it has a huge impact on your autonomic functions, particularly the heart.

anyway, i'm babbling on...sorry.

oh, what i wanted to say was, your low electroylytes could have been linked to dehydration? that's what happened with me, anyway....

the upshot for me is, i'm determined to eat some bananas and grapes a little more often than usual.

note: for ppl. on beta-blockers, always talk to your doctor(s) before starting any potassium supplements. you could potentially get hyperkalemia (the opposite of low potassium and just as bad).

justin

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Hmmm ... I also have had low potassium 2 times now since developing POTS. It's odd, because I eat a ton of bananas & tomatoes, which are both very potassium rich. I have not been able to get my doctors to care at all about this number because it's not super low.

I also take a BB and wonder what it would be if I were not on this. Maybe the adrenaline increase depletes the body of potassium or something.

Amy

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I've had very slightly low potassium most of the time I've had blood tests, going back to 1998! Doctors always scratched their heads, or suspected bulimia, even when I denied vomiting. But, like calypso's experience, they generally never expressed significant concern about it.

I do find I feel best when I eat a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables and I am sure this is b/c they are particularly potassium rich.

This may be wrong, but I THINK it has to do with the way blood pools in our POTS-affected bodies? B/c blood pools abnormally below the heart, the kidneys "mistakenly" excrete more electrolytes than they should--in other words, your kidneys wrongly "interpret" that you have too high a level of fluid and electrolytes, which leads to mild to significant dehydration and loss of electrolytes. I believe I read that explanation in a document produced out of Johns Hopkins.

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I have been concerned about the same thing. My magnesium, phosphates and potassium have all been off. I have recorded low potassium 3 times this past year. I too am on a beta blocker. I have days when I know my electrolytes are off and have coem close to going to the ER (too many bad experiances there. I usually then increase my salt, eat banannas, eat almonds, drink propel and water. I will go to the bathroom constantly, my urine will be clear, but I feel dehydrated.

I was wondering if there are times that I kidneys just do not absorb the electrolytes and just dump them. It would be nice to have an answer.

dawn a

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Hi all,

I'm sorry to ask, but what are electrolytes and potassium? I tried to find in my dictionary but it doesn't include a lot of medical terms. Maybe I should buy a more expensive one to keep up with this <_< . I thought my english was reasonably but I sometimes think: what on earth are they talking about! My brain fog doesn't help with this either. I checked my dictionary for nausea a dozen times but still can't remember what it means. Hope you don't mind explaining the electrolytes and potassium stuff, thanks in advance,

Corina

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corina

I applaud you for not only working so hard to understand your condition and improve it but to do so in another language.

Electrolytes are minerals in your blood and other body fluids that carry an electric charge. It is important for the balance of electrolytes in your body to be maintained, because they affect the amount of water in your body, blood pH, muscle action, and other important processes. Even small imbalances of electrolytes can cause symptoms or problems.

Potassium is one of these important minerals, as are sodium, calcium, chlorine, magnesium, and bicarbonate.

Can you get to this link on the web?

http://www.ziekenhuis.nl/index.php?cat=woordenboek

Here is the definition of electrolyte in Dutch: chemische verbinding die in waterige oplossing in ionen wordt gesplitst

By the way, I am a little bit familiar with Dutch since I lived in Botswana (near South Africa) for two years and learned many Afrikaans words.

nausea is misselijkheid, by the way!

Katherine

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Thanks for all of the replies. It is interesting that so many people with POTS have this problem also. I actually didn't start taking the BB until after they found out about the low potassium. However the last time I took a blood test my potassium level was in normal limits. I will have to check on that with my doctor though to make sure I'm not getting too much thanks. So I'm getting the impression that a lot of POTS people have a problems with at least potassium yet doctors don't seem to connect POTS and Electrolytes? Well except for sodium. I will also have to ask the doctor about this, and bring a copy of this post to show that other people are having this problem and not just me. It's weird I drink so much water but yet when I went to the ER on that day my Electrolytes dropped, I had been feeling so dehydrated.

Sue

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my potassium has always been low. i had a doctor give me a diuretic once and after two doses it was 2.5. lethal level. i felt like a wet wash cloth. i think the pots really messes with the body's ability to maintain correct electolyte balances and potassium is the easiest one to drop. who knows why, except stress on the body affects everything and there's nothing that stresses our bodies more than constant adrenaline rushes. this disease has so many aspects to it, Lord only knows what can happen. morgan

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Katherine,

thank you very much for giving me that link, I think it's very sweet of you. I thought of ziekenhuis.nl but didn't know they had a dictionary. This helped me a lot. It's very funny to see you write some dutch here. I went to see my neuro yesterday and he told me there are about three or at the most five doctors in the netherlands who are familiar with dysautonomia (most of them do research). I'm his only dysautonomia patient and possibly the only one in my country. In a way it made me very sad, cause noone really knows what it's like and it's difficult to explain but it made me feel very glad to have found all of you. I think that's very special, you all mean a lot to me. Sorry this is all off topic. Just wanted to let you know.

Corina

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corina

You are welcome! I hope that on-line dutch/english medical dictionary is helpful. I can imagine that must feel very lonely to be told that you are one of the few people in your country with this disorder. From my experience and reading, I find that difficult to believe--I think the problem is very underdiagnosed still, and that may be why you are still so "alone". In any case, I am glad you found this forum. I wish I knew enough Dutch to communicate with you anywhere nearly as well as you are able to communicate with us!

Katherine

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corina,

i am going off topic too...but wow i am absolutely amazed at you!

half of us have trouble with our english on our brain fog days anyway, and here you are translating everything you read and type. kudos to you for taking the energy to seek us out and learn as much as you can...even in another language!

i was so "anti-internet" before i got sick, but now, it is my lifeline...and i find it absolutely amazing that we can feel so connected to people all over the world. i think we would all feel pretty isolated if we didn't have this board and other ways of reaching out.

also, never be shy about asking for clarification on something....i am sure we use all sorts of things that are not even in the dictionary...we won't make you feel embarrassed!

and katherine...that is soooo amazing that you know some dutch! who knew it would come in handy here, huh?

emily

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Katherine and emily, thanks very much for your kind words, it made me smile and that's just what I needed today. Katherine I think you're right that there must be more POTSpatients over here but simply not diagnosed. I'm still trying to find them anyway and try to make people aware of dysautonomia. That's why I look forward to buying some of the new coming bracelets so I can give them to people and spread the word (feel like a priest now :) ).

Emily I'm with you in this connected feeling that the internet and this forum gives us. Hope you're all doing fine today,

Corina

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