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Discharge Instructions for Hypokalemia

You have been diagnosed with hypokalemia (a low level of potassium in the blood). Potassium helps with the function of your nerve and muscle cells, including those in the heart. A low level of potassium in the blood can cause abnormal heart rhythms and even heart attack.

Diet Changes

Eat more potassium-rich foods:

  • Bananas

  • Oranges and orange juice

  • Tomatoes, tomato sauce, and tomato juice

  • Green, leafy vegetables, including spinach, salad greens, collards, and chard

  • Melons (all kinds)

  • Peas

  • Beans

  • Potatoes

  • Sweet potatoes

  • Avocados, including guacamole

  • Vegetable juices, such as V8

  • Fruit juices

  • All nuts and seeds

Other Home Care

  • Take a potassium supplement as directed by your doctor.

  • After strenuous exercise or any activity that causes you to sweat a lot, grab a beverage high in potassium, such as coconut water, orange juice, or low-sodium vegetable juices.

  • Be sure to eat foods or drink fluids that contain potassium if you are having diarrhea or vomiting.

  • Have your potassium levels checked regularly.

  • Take all medications exactly as directed.

  • Tell your doctor about all prescription and ove-the-counter medications you are taking. This includes herbal preparations.

  • Avoid foods that are high in salt. Avoid canned and prepared foods that are high in salt.

Follow-Up

  • Make a follow-up appointment as directed by our staff.

  • Keep all follow-up appointments. Your doctor needs to monitor your condition closely.

 

When to call your doctor

Call your doctor right away if you have any of the following:

  • Vomiting

  • Fatigue

  • Diarrhea

  • Rapid, irregular heartbeat

  • Shortness of breath

  • Chest pain

  • Muscle cramps, spasms, or twitching

  • Weakness

  • Paralysis

 

 
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