Help I have a potassium phobia!

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Hi I'm 48 and take 20 mg of Benicar. My blood pressure is around 95/65 and my GFR is only 74 (should be 99). Also, my potassium is 4.2 (range 3.5-5). I read that as kidney disease gets worse it becomes harder for the kidneys to eliminate potassium and so I've suddenly become afraid of eating anything with potassium in it, and just about everything has potassium in it so I'm afraid to eat anything for fear of developing high potassium levels. Someone please tell me I'm crazy. I've been in a total panic for 2 days and I can't eat much. I'm drinking water and eating white rice.

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11 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi Natalie,

    I know exactly where you are coming from. but I believe you need to take a deep breath, relax and see the half full of the cup. I'm not a doctor but based on your GFR I believe you need not to worry much about it at this stage. however, you need to take precautions and adjust your diet to eat healthy and maintain your kidney function for as long as possible. I'm myself a kidney patient 31 years old female. I have other rare autoimmune diseases. my GFR is now 54 it was 70 5 years ago. but I haven't realised i have the disease until 2years ago. I eat healthy and everything. I don't follow a specific diet. reason is that I had a rare type of CKD which resulted in a very low potassium levels on the contrary of other patients who need to reduce potassium intake.

    so everyone's different. you need to take things easy do not panic at all you have good kidney functioning so far and keep monitoring your blood pressure, diabetes and other nutrients in your body. you defo need to pay a dietitian a visit to follow a diet that's suitable for your condition and type of CKD.

    finger crossed for you . hope I was any help to your concerns😊

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    • Posted

      You're young and have it worse than I do yet you are trying to comfort me. How completely selfless and kind of you, thank you. I am starting to adjust my diet towards eating less sodium, sugar, and potassium though I'm not sure why I'm particularly concerned about potassium since it is well within normal range. I think it's because it's in all of my favorite foods.

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  • Posted

    Hi Natalie, I am not medically qualified so this is just my opinion and personal experience. Firstly a Gfr of 70 is classed as stage 2 of 6 stages of kidney disease.

    I have stage 3a and have been at this stage since diagnosis 20 years ago. I also take medication for high blood pressure. I don't follow any special diet, but like ANY other person healthy or otherwise i try to eat well and keep fit.

    If your doctor hasn't suggested you follow a diet or see a nutritionist then I wouldn't worry. You can if course see a nutritionist but I think speaking to your doctor is the best way to set your mind at rest.

    My GP was very realistic when discussing it, I only have a check-up annually and only visit if i think I'm getting a Uti.

    Out of curiosity are you in the UK? I ask this as i have noticed in previous threads different responses/medical advice between UK and USA

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    • Posted

      Hey there. That's encouraging that you have remained stable for 20 years, wow. I'm in the USA. I don't even have a doctor since I'm so afraid of them. I ordered my own blood work and decided I was in stage 2 though I read somewhere that you can't just go by GFR. I probably would feel much better if I saw a doctor. It's just getting over my fear of possibly receiving bad news.

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  • Posted

    I would never call you crazy but maybe a little unrealistic. You have to have potassium your body needs it. Having a low potassium can be more dangerous than a high potassium sometimes. I would ask your doctor to refer you to a dietitian to discuss how much your body needs especially with taking medications. I eat half amounts of high potassium foods. So if I want tomatoes I eat half a serving or half a banana or potato etc. But I do not avoid them that is probably not needed at your stage. But again you should always ask your doctor.

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    • Posted

      Trust me I know and if you are going to use the internet for info make sure it is reliable sources like Pubmed and Healthline. Then take info you learn and discuss with MD. There are tons of sources that give misleading info esp if they are trying to sell you something.

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  • Posted

    Hi Natalie, having your bloods done yourself can almost be as bad a Googling your symptoms! I presume the blood pressure tablets are prescribed, so maybe talk to the doctor that prescribed them about your concerns. Kidney function does naturally decrease with age and without seeing a doctor you will never know, and in the meantime you will make yourself ill worrying which is counter productive.

    Do you know what causes the high blood pressure?

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    • Posted

      Hi Louise,

      Lots of things can cause high blood pressure. My blood pressure is around 90/60 on Benicar which I order without a prescription from India. Sometimes it goes up to 100/70 which kind of scares me. You're right, I need to get over my fear of doctors and go see one. I guess right now imagining what might be wrong feels safer than being told some dreadful news.

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  • Posted

    Natalie, I am sorry you have a fear of Doctors but I’m worried you're maybe doing yourself harm, especially with self prescribing medicines, you have no idea whats in it or even if its right for you. 20mg is quite a large dose without being monitored.

    I don't want to scare you but its really not a good way healthwise.

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