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SLIMMERKIWI Posts: 26,040
6/4/14 5:57 P

Russell - it sounds like you MAY have a bit of a bee in your bonnet about Dr's and medications. Most Dr's don't prescribe 'willy nilly' and most Dietitians aren't interested in 'food only' if medications are indicated. In fact, a lot will actually SUGGEST a 'pill' when indicated.

A Dietitian will be able to suggest loads of ways nutritionally to get extra Potassium. Things like baked potato with skin on rather than boiled with the skin off. Not soaking veges in water, etc. They are also able to give loads of other foods apart from the proverbial banana which has a good supply of potassium.


Edited by: SLIMMERKIWI at: 6/4/2014 (17:59)
SLIMMERKIWI Posts: 26,040
6/4/14 5:55 P

If your Dr wasn't worried about the potassium (based on blood results?) then I wouldn't worry. The bloods should be done reasonably regularly anyway, given that you are on meds which can alter your electrolytes.

If your concern is more based on what figure YOU are coming up with via tracking, then please try not to. Often various nutrients aren't included in the nutrition labels because they don't have to be by law, so you WILL be getting more than you realize.

Don't be tempted to use Potassium Supplements, either, UNLESS your Dr prescribes them. They can be very dangerous if used unnecessarily.


ANARIE Posts: 13,140
6/4/14 2:22 P

If the doctor wasn't concerned with potassium, you probably don't need to be overly concerned, either. You should call and ask, but in the meantime, go in and ask your pharmacist. Pharmacists are often more up on side effects and drug interactions than doctors, and if you go in at off-peak hours, they have more time to explain it all to you.

ILAVIAN SparkPoints: (0)
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6/4/14 1:54 P

Thanks for the replies, everyone. I'll bring this up with my doctor again, but last time I did he wasn't the least bit concerned about potassium. I wasn't tracking it then, so he just asked if I was eating normally and that was that. The 258 was not a typo, but I have no idea how much of the food I tracked yesterday contained potassium without labeling it. Before bed I had a banana just to bring it to 700mg or so.

My specific concern with potassium is simply because the lisinopril I'm on very specifically states that it can cause the body to store way too much of it and seriously harm me, mixed with the recent realization that potassium is important. Although, I've gone 26 years not paying attention to it and appear to be no worse for wear.

LADYSTARWIND SparkPoints: (79,627)
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6/4/14 11:58 A

ILAVIAN...I got thinking last night....was the "258mg" real or a typo...??? Did you mean 2580mg by any chance? If so, then you are probably very close to a dietary " average amount of Potassium". (Many foods which contain it are not properly labeled to show the actual content...)
And more importantly...WHY are you concerned about Potassium particularly? Have you ever been told you have an increased, or lowered Potassium? Our bodies are remarkably able to regulate many of our electrolytes and even with BP meds, most people do not need to worry about potassium levels. advice...please check with your Doctor emoticon Your Labs will guide their response. And, as Russell suggested, advocate for yourself..ask questions...share your concerns!
All the best,

RUSSELL_40 Posts: 16,826
6/4/14 9:32 A

They aren't going to adjust her diet. They will adjust pill dosage based on how she eats. If she is low in potassium, they will give her a pill.

A dietitian can try to get the right balance, but if the doctor thinks she is low, they will give it to her in a pill. Adjustments to diet leave too much of a chance that the patient reverts back, while a pill gets taken every day, and the patient can just eat what they always do.

This is why so many pills are prescribed. Most people fail at diets, so how could you be assured that they would stay on their new plan? It is simply the most likely scenario.

They believe that more people will take the pill, than stay on a diet devised by a dietitian. It may work, but they choose the path with the greatest chance of success. Their only goal is stable potassium levels, and may even warn you not to mess with your diet, because they will make it work with pills.

So to the OP: If you think a dietitian would be helpful, be prepared to fight for the opportunity to try fixing this issue with diet. That could handle the potassium pill. Getting healthier, also with the health of your dietitian, will help you get off the Lisinopril, and diuretic, if that is possible.

Once they put you on a potassium pill, your options become more limited, as the doctor may just tell your dietitian they have the problem controlled. Problem solved. Your doctor may even be angry if a dietitian messes with your diet, after he has you " balanced ". That needs to be worked out by you, the doctor, and the dietitian, but you may want to referee that discussion, and make your views known.

If you tell your doctor that you want to try fixing these issues with diet, the doctor may just give you 6 months to fix it with diet. You may still need to go on a pill temporarily, if it could become a health risk. Above all, they want to keep you healthy, so make your argument, and then listen to what they decide.

This isn't going to be as simple as get a dietitian, and fix the problem. there are multiple concerns with health, as well as multiple parties who are trying to fix " the problem ", in different ways. They will butt heads, and try to get you to do things their way, and you need to push as hard as possible to get things done your way, but only in chat rooms is it as simple as go to your doctor, get a referral, and fix the problem with a dietary change. In the real world, it will be more complicated, so state how you want to do things, but if a pill keeps you from having arrythmias, your doctor will put you on one, and you should take it. You can always get healthier later, and get OFF pills.

Good Luck on getting healthier. That is the best thing you can do right now.

SLIMMERKIWI Posts: 26,040
6/4/14 3:41 A

Because this is a health issue, you should be taking this up with your Dr. Also, ask for a referral to a Registered Dietitian who will be able to help you with respect to your specific nutritional goals.

Make sure that you are weighing all of your food for increased accuracy and entering it all into the Nutrition Tracker. Then take some printouts of your Daily Report to your appointment with your Dietitian to show exactly what and how much you are eating. He/she will be able to prescribe a diet based on YOUR needs.

Good luck,

RUSSELL_40 Posts: 16,826
6/4/14 2:34 A

I have congestive heart failure, and I take Lisinopril, and Lasix in the morning. Because of the diuretic, I have to take a potassium pill. I have cut down the dosage, now that my BP averages 90/60, so the potassium pill was reduced by 50 %.

All along though, they have done blood tests to see what my potassium levels are, and I have been perfect for 12 years or so. They are pretty good at regulating potassium to diuretic ratios. If there is a change, it will probably be in the first 3-6 months. Just eat a regular diet that you normally do, and don't be afraid of potassium. You have a range of 3500-4700, and most foods won't move the amount of potassium much. A banana for example is not going to put you at 10000 mg. A medium ( 7.5 " ) banana has only 422 mg, or 1/10th of the potassium you need, so just eat what you normally would, and let the doctor adjust your potassium. You will probably need more due to the diuretic.

DO NOT try eating a bunch of potassium that you normally wouldn't eat. This would not last, and would just give the doctor the opinion that you needed a smaller dose, but when you stopped eating the extra potassium in your diet, you would be low, until the next blood test, and subsequent dose increase.

What you should be focused on right now, is weight loss, to bring the BP down. This will bring down your dose of Lisinopril, and the diuretic at a pace your doctor will determine. As they are dropped, your potassium needs in pill form will also decline.

Basically, just focus on being healthier, and steady weight loss. Your whole body gets healthier at the same time, and once you do your job of becoming healthy, which is the only thing you CAN control, the rest is up to your doctor.

Your doctor will most likely be hesitant to drop dosages quickly, and will take a cautious approach. Reassure the doctor by sticking to your plan for a year or two, and they will be more likely to drop the dose, if they see you have a low BP for a straight year. They will cut the dose, and monitor you to see how that affects you.

Taking a pill sucks, but the doctor's job is to prevent you from having high BP. I lost 180 lbs., and exercise 90-120 minutes every day, but still take 1/4 of the Lisinopril, and 1/2 the potassium that I did back in 2009 at 361 lbs. I have gotten off my diabetes, and cholesterol meds, so I don't want to discourage you in your hopes of getting off the pills, but I do want you to understand that it will take a huge commitment to do so. Your doctor isn't going to see a good number in 3 months, and discontinue these pills. Your BP would shoot right back up.

You shouldn't have getting off the pills as a main goal. Your main goal should be a healthy weight, plenty of exercise, and overall health. Getting off the pills may or may not happen, but will only happen as a result of becoming more healthy. Do that, and see what happens.

By the way, I was 27 when I was told I had a leaky heart valve, congestive heart failure, and given six months to live. At 26, you can still have major problems. Now that you know about it, just focus on being healthy for this one week. Eat well, and exercise. Then repeat for years, and whatever happens, will happen. Hopefully it get you off these pills. To be honest, you are more likely to be taking more pills in the short term. I was put on 8 pills a day at the start, and that went up to 29, and is now back to 12 a day. Four of them are Lasix, and potassium, and one necessitates the use of the other. So if I get rid of the Lasix, I get rid of the potassium, and drop 4 pills. So your new pills will have side effects, and these side effects will need another pill to counteract them.

I was on two 20 mg Lisinopril, and now take one 10 mg pill in the morning, so you may get a drop in the amount of pills, or a drop in the dosage.

All you can do is control what you eat, and how much you exercise. So be the healthiest you can be, and let the doctor control how much medication you need. You may want to push him/her with the idea that you are getting healthier, and want to reduce/get rid off medication as fast as possible, but the doctor is going to do what is best for you. So be patient, and be healthy, and good thing will happen. Just maybe not quite as fast as you hope.

LADYSTARWIND SparkPoints: (79,627)
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Posts: 4,489
6/4/14 2:02 A

Your Doctor needs to address these issues with you...not folks here on Spark! He/She needs to advise you on your potassium intake based on YOUR Labs and how YOUR kidneys respond to the Lisinopril and HCTZ diuretic. If you are really trying to limit your Potassium to 258 mg/day, your Doctor needs to KNOW THAT!!

Perhaps you could take in your Spark Nutrition printouts and show them what you have been doing.....If needed, they can refer you to a Registered Dietician to help you find a safe range of Potassium intake!!

By all means, don't try to "guess" what you need; and **don't wait** to get this resolved for yourself !! Messing with too little potassium, or too much, can bring problems you don't want!
All the best,

PS...yes I've taken both these meds.... Please talk with you Doctor about your concerns!!

Edited by: LADYSTARWIND at: 6/4/2014 (02:35)
ILAVIAN SparkPoints: (0)
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6/4/14 1:50 A

I was recently put on Lisinopril and Hydrochlorothiazide due to high blood pressure. High blood pressure runs in the family, but I'm only 26 and a big part of trying to get into healthy shape is the desire to get off these medications as soon as possible. The problem is that I apparently need 3,500 to 4,700mg of potassium a day.

The water pills are said to flush potassium out of my system too quickly. The lisinopril is said to cause me to retain TOO much potassium, to the point of being extremely detrimental to my health. I'm scared to eat anything with potassium in it, honestly. Today my total value was 258mg, and based off my diet this has probably been my average daily amount for several years.

Is there anyone else on both these medications that has also had trouble getting enough potassium?

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