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Dr. SH
Dr. SH, Board Certified Physician
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 8770
Experience:  Doctor of Medicine
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Over the last few years, I have had several blood tests, and

Resolved Question:

Over the last few years, I have had several blood tests, and all of these recorded a serum potassium level around 3.9 (within the normal range of 3.5 - 5.0). I understand that, while this level is not problematic, a somewhat higher level is desirable.
I already eat what seems to be a good diet, with many fruits and vegetables. (I eat fish, but not meat.) My magnesium levels are consistently high, while my sodium levels vary within the normal range. I am an active person, and I work out intensely (endurance exercise) for an hour several times a week.
I do also seem to have a persistent tendency to get dehydrated, despite drinking over 2 litres of non-caffeinated fluid a day.
What could be causing this? Are there other things I can be doing to increase my potassium level and improve hydration?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Medical
Expert:  Dr. SH replied 2 years ago.
Dr. Shahzad MD :

Hi there. Thank you for your question. I will be helping you out with your queries

Dr. Shahzad MD :

Do you have any symptoms that would suggest a low potassium level?

Customer:

Yes, in the past few weeks I have had some muscle cramps during a hot weather period. Last Sunday I went to Accident and Emergency, as I felt faint and had spasms. I was told I was dehydrated, even though I do drink a lot of water.

Dr. Shahzad MD :

Are you a heavy sweater?

Dr. Shahzad MD :

meaning do you sweat a lot

Customer:

I should add I have a pain condition, which recently got somewhat aggravated when I over-extended my spine on a foam roller in the gym. Th

Customer:

Yes, I am a heavy sweater.

Dr. Shahzad MD :

thats the main thing, since you are a heavy sweater you will have to remain continuously hydrated during exercise

Dr. Shahzad MD :

Some people sweat a lot and this is natural.

Customer:

I was going to say my symptoms appeared when my pain condition got aggravated, possibly due to nerve root irritation

Customer:

I think it is possible that I have indeed been underhydrated over weeks or months. My skin has become moister as I increased drink three days ago. But potassium test two days ago was 3.9.

Dr. Shahzad MD :

Was it tender to touch?

Dr. Shahzad MD :

or is it still tender to touch?

Customer:

Sorry, i don't understand the question: what do you mean might be tender to touch?

Dr. Shahzad MD :

I mean is the painful area still tender to touch?

Dr. Shahzad MD :

when you press the area does the pain increase?

Customer:

I am having persistent level of muscle spasm now due to irritated spine, and indeed it can get worse if pressed, but it is not crampy pain anymore, after increased hydration.

Customer:

I noticed improvement in general pain after hydration. I feel like it might improve further if I got more potassium, as spasms might decrease.

Dr. Shahzad MD :

I think that you should just rest for a few days and it will improve.

Dr. Shahzad MD :

it may be a muscle pull.

Dr. Shahzad MD :

I personally do not think its a nerve pain.

Dr. Shahzad MD :

Since you perspire a lot naturally, you have the tendency to dehydrate quickly.

Dr. Shahzad MD :

So you need to keep yourself well hydrated all the time particularly when you are exercising in a hot and humid environment.

Customer:

I think I do have nerve pain - it is a reaggravation of old pain. I will hydrate more, but how can I improve potassium further? Should I supplement?

Dr. Shahzad MD :

I think that you should eat more red meat.

Customer:

Why would red meat help? I thought this is good for iron. Any alternatives?

Dr. Shahzad MD :

You can read about the top ten potassium rich foods here.

Dr. Shahzad MD :

It includes cooked lean beef as well.

Dr. Shahzad MD :

http://www.fitday.com/fitness-articles/nutrition/vitamins-minerals/10-high-potassium-foods.html#b

Dr. Shahzad MD :

Which is what I was talking about.

Customer:

Thank you for your help.

Dr. Shahzad MD :

You are most welcome
Wish you all the best
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Goodbye :)

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