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Side effects of potassium supplements - Online Doctor Chats

Date : 21-Feb-2012
User rating for this question
Very Good Posted in: Medicines and Side Effects
Answered by

General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2004
Answered : 40 Questions
User :   I recently underwent 2 surgeries with general anesthesia. Later, I went to a healthcare provider who recommended a potassium supplement called K+2 by Health by Design, among other supplements. After taking this, along with other supplements recommended, I began to itch--alot. I stopped the potassium and another supplement. The itching stopped. I tried to add the potassium back in my diet in smaller amounts. The itching still persisted. After several tries of stopping and starting, I now cannot take any supplement-calcium or vitamin-that contains any form of vitamin K without itching. I feel like something has really been messed up in my mineral/vitamin balance. Can you provide me with information about minerals and their synergy with other minerals that may help me.
Doctor :   Hi
Doctor :   Dr Anvekar here
Doctor :   let me read your query
Doctor :   may i know what was the surgery done for ?
User :   Certainly, it was for skin cancer--facial
Doctor :   ok
Doctor :   and why were these supplements prescribed ?
Doctor :   any specific reason ?
User :   To help me overcome effects of anesthesia and get to back a normal homeostasis.
Doctor :   ok
Doctor :   how many days were you asked to take this medication ?
Doctor :   Do u have any medical condition related to the kidneys ?
User :   No specific number of days. But I had a followup appointment in one month.
User :   No, I have no kidney problems
Doctor :   actually if your kidneys are in normal and in good function, there is no need for additional supplements
Doctor :   for your information, let me give you afew facts
Doctor :   Sodium , potassium and calcium are major ions that are involved in all physiological activities of the body
User :   any more facts about these minerals and their relationship to each other.
Doctor :   sodium is a ion that works outside the cell
Doctor :   potassium is a ion that works inside the cell
Doctor :   for every nerve or impulse, sodium enters the cell , and potassium exits the cells
Doctor :   the changes in the electrolyte composition
Doctor :   causes
Doctor :   ionic changes , and this will result in signal progression
Doctor :   and then either muscle contaction, secretion from glands, cardiac contraction
Doctor :   so the combination of sodium, potassium is important in the transmission of all form of signals within the body
Doctor :   In addition for all cells within the body to function, has to have proper concentration and balance of all the ions including sodium, potassium, etc
Doctor :   any change in the concentration, causes altered body functions , including cardiac arrhhythmias ( abnormal contractions), drowsiness, fatigue etc
User :   can too much potassium cause itching?
Doctor :   yes additional salt within the body, in excess of normal can cause itching
User :   Is potassium considered a salt?
Doctor :   yes
Doctor :   actually if you have recovered from the surgery and are feeling fine, there is no more need to continue the supplement
User :   I think my body doesn't like potassium in anything but a whole food state--doesnt respond well to a supplement or single mineral form, because I am itching with even the tiniest addition of potassium in non whole food form. Any comments.
Doctor :   that is possible
Doctor :   you need to stop taking additional supplements of potassiium
Doctor :   this will help to stop your symptoms
Doctor :   i hope this clears are your doubts
Doctor :   Are you there ?
Doctor :   it seems that you have moved out of the chat session
Doctor :   please log in again if you have additional query
Doctor :   take care and bye for now
Doctor :   Hi
Doctor :   are you back ?
User :   Yes, my session ended,
Doctor :   welcome back
User :   I still have a comment
Doctor :   sure
User :   I have stopped taking the potassium over a week ago. Now I cannot take the vitamin and mineral supplements that I was successfully taking before, because they all cause itching. They all contain Vit K in some form.
Doctor :   So do u have the symptoms anymore ?
User :   I am not sure what symptoms the potassium was prescribed for. but I still have some lingering symptoms. Yes
Doctor :   may i know your symptoms that you had ?
User :   Well, right now I have some muschle weakness and joint weakness that was not present before the surgery. I also have some fatigue that I have not accustomed to. I am concerned that not being to take vitamins and minerals will exascerbate this problem.
Doctor :   may i know your age ?
User :   I also, have had some water retention that I don't like. Yes, I am 55 with not physical health problems.
Doctor :   any blood tests including thyroid done ?
User :   Yes, 2 years ago. I could have another one.
User :   The one 2 years was normal.
Doctor :   muscle weakness, fatigue, lethargy, dry itchy skin, are some important symptoms of hypothyroidism, that appear in the early stages
Doctor :   this can be detected by a blood tests called TSH
User :   Good tip. I did not have any of these symptoms before surgery, though.
Doctor :   usually sometimes , stress and surgery can precipitate thyroid anomalies
Doctor :   and present as hypothyroidism
User :   I will look into that. Thank you, How can I get my electrolyte balance back.
Doctor :   this is called
Doctor :   post surgical hypothyroidism
Doctor :   just follow a healthy diet
Doctor :   do not take any more supplements of potassium , which are medically not essential
User :   thank you
Doctor :   also, check if you have electrolyte imbalance, by getting the serum electrolytes checked
Doctor :   this will confirm if you indeed have electrolyte imbalance
User :   So if I am understanding you correctly, to address post surgical hypothyroidism, I just need to follow a healthy diet and it will correct itself?
Doctor :   if the thyroid levels are low as determined by the blood tests, then you may need thyroid hormone supplements to correct hypothyroidism ,
Doctor :   if the tests are normal, you dont need any more supplements at all
User :   Can surgery induce permanent hypothyroidism?
User :   Can surgery induce permanent hypothyroidism?
Doctor :   no it cannot
Doctor :   its just a transient and short term
Doctor :   this causes a very transient episode
User :   Please explain" surgery precipitating thyroid anomalies".
Doctor :   i hope your questions have been answered effectively
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