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So the beginning of my 12th week I started having pain in my right side. It would not get better. Saturday morning I called my doctor and she said let's do a quick test and see what's going on. I show up at the hospital and they admitted me immediately. I was surprised by that. They did blood work a CAT scan and ultrasounds. The blood work came back immediately with my potassium at 3.0. I don't know a lot about that kind of stuff but I learned that anything 3.6 and under you are admitted for. Apparently you can have a heart attack. My kidneys were at stage 2 failure shutting down from dehydration low electrolytes and potassium. Hence the right side pain. So they started me on the drips and the potassium and kept me Saturday through to Sunday afternoon. By Sunday at 6:00 a.m. my kidneys looked better and my potassium was at 3.6. how did this happen That's the question. I was on blood pressure medication that also had a diuretic included in it. My doctor knew this, my doctor and I discussed this before surgery and immediately after surgery. She put me on a regular blood pressure med with no diuretic for one week after surgery and then told me to continue with the regular one with the diuretic. Why would she have done that. You're already struggling after this kind of surgery to get all your fluids in only to have a diuretic move all of them out of you quickly including all your electrolytes. So for 3 months I have been fighting a diuretic and my kidneys have been working overdrive to make up for it. I'm very angry. I live in the Central Valley in California and in this next week our temperatures will be upwards of 114°. In the hospital they told me if I hadn't come in I would have come in in an ambulance within a few days simply because of the heat and how low my potassium was. And who knows if I would have made it. I'm still tired it will take awhile for me to fully recover from this and it was completely avoidable.

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Well, I'm confused because they never hospitalize me when my potassium gets low... so that's kind of weird. And I also live in California (technically Central California, but in the portion that's also apart of the Sierra Foothills). I just had blood work last week and my potassium is 3.5 and I'm still at home. Also, it's not the first time my potassium has been like this. It plays the up and down game and every other blood test it comes back low, but is normal with the next one (I'm almost 17 months post op btw). I can't swallow pills so I just try to eat more potassium rich foods like a banana, cucumbers, avocado, spinach, nuts, yogurt, etc. but honestly, they don't seem that concerned about it (likely because the only other issue with my blood work is extremely high B12 that I'm working to try and get down).

I am very sorry you went through a health scare like that. I can't imagine how terrifying it must have been to hear about your kidneys and having to hope they were able to fix things. I hope things get better for you from here on out and that the heat doesn't worsen things.

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24 minutes ago, NovaLuna said:

Well, I'm confused because they never hospitalize me when my potassium gets low... so that's kind of weird.

It isn't weird at all, and yes, you can have a heart attack when your potassium gets badly out of whack. 3.5 is borderline...it's just under normal. 3.0 is bad (particularly combined with indicators of extreme dehydration and poor kidney function).

Moral of the story: Drink your fluids. Sip, Sip, Sip. All day. Everyday. When you are at more risk for dehydration, you have to extra careful with overheating in ways you weren't before.

I remember being able to chug almost a quart of Water when I got overheated before surgery. These days, over three years out, I can barely "chug" 6 ounces.

Learning to drink water all the freaking time when it's hot...is essential. Eating your bananas and salty stuff is a good idea, too.

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WoW! Crazy! Glad you are doing better now. I know I was taking Lisinopril and Hydrochlorothiazide (water pill) for my high BP and the day I left the hospital the surgeon told me DO NOT take the HCT for fear of dehydration. My regular doc at my two week visit did NOT add it back on either.

You are lucky!!! I won't get any new labs until September (which will be 4 months out from surgery) and I hope all is good come that time.

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One note here is that lab tests, and what counts as low normal or high, can vary from one lab to another depending upon what precise test is done, reagents, etc., so what is just "low" in one place can be "critical" in another. Also, having it done in a hospital may bias the action some - since you're already there (and maybe they have beds to fill) they admit your, whereas if you were in the doctor's office or at home when the results came in, she would just send you home with an Rx.

I suspect that your surgeon wasn't overly concerned about the diuretic because the small amount used in the blood pressure meds (usually HCTz) doesn't have that much of an effect. There are some potassium sparing diuretics that can be prescribed if they are hitting some other Water retention problem with heavier doses. IIRC, I was on an BP med that included HCTz and it wasn't an issue, though your PCP may want to reduce your dosage, or take the HCTz out, in anticipation of falling BP levels as you lose weight; my PCP was somewhat aggressive in dropping BP med levels, preferring my BP to be a bit high than fall dangerously low (as can happen sometimes with rapid weight loss.)

3 hours ago, NovaLuna said:

Also, it's not the first time my potassium has been like this. It plays the up and down game and every other blood test it comes back low, but is normal with the next one (I'm almost 17 months post op btw). I can't swallow pills so I just try to eat more potassium rich foods like a banana, cucumbers, avocado, spinach, nuts, yogurt, etc. 

My wife is chronically low on K - nothing to do with her DS, just her - so we have been playing with this for a long time. Normal OTC supplements don't really touch it as the legal FDA limits are so low (3% RDA, or 99mg) as to be useless. She now dissolves here K tablets into her daily smoothie (which also gets some of her calcium citrate added, too) which is also K heavy - tangerine juice, banana, starwberries, kiwi sometimes, so dissolving the tablets in something is a workable solution - just make sure it is something that you drink slowly as it is otherwise a time release pill for a reason. The best non-Rx source that I have found is the low sodium version of V8 juice - an 11 oz can has around 1200 mg in it.

Overall, hydration seems to be the biggest factor, and as has been noted before in these forums, is the quickest way to get put back into the hospital after WLS. A friend of ours got food poisoning on a trip across Canada a year or so post op (dehydration is one of the worst side effects of that) and by the time they got to Nova Scotia, he could barely get out of the car. The ER docs there told him that he had the lowest K level they had ever seen on someone still living (IIRC is was in the 1.x range), so take your hydration seriously.

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Thank you everyone for your comments. I really don't understand how I became dehydrated when I was drinking 74 oz of Water a day or a more. Except for the fact that I was drinking water. Not Gatorade not electrolyte waters just regular plain water. I don't like all of the sweeteners and the tastes that they add to the Gatorades and the waters. I just like clean water. But that was flushing everything out of my system especially with the diuretic. So I guess that's the key there. I'm feeling really really tired super rundown. I figured out how to get nearly a thousand milligrams of potassium in my morning shake which takes me about 3 hours to drink. So that starts the day off right. But all these macros and nutrients gosh I didn't think it was going to be that difficult. For whatever reason my stomach just clamps down if I'm going to eat regular food before noon. That's new since after surgery. So the shakes work great. So I'm just going to find ways to keep adding what I need to that shake. As far as the rest of the day I eat salad and Protein and I try to get a piece of fruit in. I also like that milk has a lot of potassium and protein. So I'll squeeze in a cup of milk as a snack. But other than that I've been doing great, my weight's been consistently going down. Of course I put on 6 lb overnight in the hospital with all the Fluid bags they had running through the IV and it's coming off now at about a pound and a half a day. If anybody has any suggestions on how to get your nutrients in more simply please offer them up I'm open to anything you got.

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My blood work has been good all along but once I got off the Lisinopril (about 1 month post op) I have felt much better. It’s anecdotal but maybe there’s something with these types of surgeries and diuretic BP meds. Good luck!

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