Log in
AF Association
16,409 members19,524 posts

up date on Potassium effects!!

I have written on here before about the fact that when I have been to A and E , when first diagnosed with AF, my potassium levels were below range. After upping potassium in my diet (food, not supplements,) I have had intervals between AF episodes varying from one year to three years.

My BP recently rose and I started on Ramipril which tends to make one retain Potassium. I therefore stopped bananas, salmon and the skin of jacket potatoes , thinking I might start AF if my Potassium levels were too high.

So, last weekend, after having a tree on the line on the way to Kings Lynn for a concert, my BP was very high during the night. I had an irregular pulse for a short time but then had a very fast regular pulse and felt really ill. I rang 999 and the responder asked me to count my pulse out loud- he quickly said,"we'll send someone straight away!!" So I ended up in Kings Lynn A and E for the night ( I'm from Surrey!)

Interesting thing was my Potassium was below range when tested in A and E . Because I've recently been put on Ramipril I have blood test results for 2 days earlier where my potassium was in range. I've now started on the high potassium food again and have to have another blood test tomorrow- will be able to check levels then.

Because I don't have a AF very often now, it was almost as if I was trying to go into AF because of low potassium and then it switched to the very rapid tachycardia.

Ive been fine since changing diet back so will be interesting to see what test result /levels of Potassium are tomorrow.

This rather long-winded story may be of interest to others who have wondered about effect of potassium levels!!

23 Replies
oldestnewest

This is very interesting rosy . What rate were you when fast ? My potassium is usually in range these days . I take magnesium glycinate which I credit for keeping me in NSR for the best part of 12 months ( bar one episode 7 months ago). A recent record for me.

Do let us know how your levels go after reverting to your previous diet.

1 like
Reply

Interesting to hear your experience regarding AF - were you already on medication/s for af before going to A&E?

Would be interested to know what treatment A&E gave you

1 like
Reply

Hi,

No, I have vagal AF and so beta blockers etc are not suitable, Just apixaban and magnesium and the extra potassium in food. A And E just took bloods, checked BP at intervals as it was very high and waited for HR to settle!!

1 like
Reply

Hi Rosy, sorry to hear you had a bad one. I know you are focussed on Potassium, which I agree is beneficial but your story said 'Vagus Nerve' to me.

Reply

You’re right- I have Vagal AF but upping potassium in food has held it at bay. Point of my ( long winded!) post was to show what happened when I lowered potassium.

Reply

Funny enough I got a bad bout of AF when doing the London to Paris cycle ride and ate too many bananas as fuel. 5 was obviously too many as the maximum daily amount should not exceed 2. So I guess it goes both ways but like Yatsura above I have found high dose magnesium has almost stopped the AF.

Reply

Yes you’re right Chen stone and I’m now Re balancing!!!

Reply

Sorry to hear about your experiences - if your serum levels were low - I wonder what your cell levels are? I do think maintaining electrolytes is so important. I’ve never had a problem with potassium levels but it is worrying to realise just how drugs affect us.

Hope you feel better soon. Best wishes CD

Reply

Thank you CD. Having a blood test this morning so can see if Re- instating extra dietary potassium has raised it.

Reply

I've also noticed that having adequate potassium allows me to have less AFib events. In order to keep my levels up I try to eat small amounts of moringa (https://ucanr.edu/blogs/blogcore/postdetail.cfm?postnum=27627) several times a week in stir-fries soups and blender drinks. Living in Hawaii it's easy for me to grow but in colder climates I believe it's available dried.

Reply

Thankyou HiloHairy. That’s very helpful

Reply

Very interesting and relevant to a recent query I had, many thanks for sharing.

Reply

That must have been a very scary experience for you. So, in short you think that if you have the right level if potassium then no vagal AF. How do you know if one has vagal AF?

Reply

it happens at night, on relaxing, or after large meals- but mainly at night- it's when the sympathetic nervous system , which is liked with the majority of AF activity is overtaken by the autonomic system and the vagal nerve comes into play, slowing the heart down at rest. Lots of people have both types of AF but a minority have vagal AF and it has to be treated differently- no beta blockers for digoxin for example as these can worsen things.

Yes, potassium reduced episodes from every 2-4 weeks for about 7 months, to 1-3 yearly as soon as I increased potassium in food. Potassium supplements of course are dangerous as would cause arrhythmias if potassium levels are too high.

Reply

Hi Rosie And sorry to hear from you that you had a bad episode. I hope you get back under control soon. I know you will certainly try.

My recent blood test results for everything are the best they have ever been and still no AF. I can only imagine that my extremely boringly healthy lifestyle is having an effect!

No ANYTHING except exercise ( moderate of course ). If I ever make it to a grand old age just watch this space while all my old vices come flooding back.

Take care

Jane x

Reply

Thanks Rosy it was of interest to me! As is lots of people's stories on the wonderful site.

Reply

I would say be careful-those considering upping your potassium intake have test first. High levels can be dangerous. I had test and mine slightly above normal range.

1 like
Reply

Good point. Balancing act for me!

Reply

I wonder if my Dr would check my potassium level if asked.

Reply

Are you on aNOAC as routine checks are needed so could include potassium. Should do it anyway if you ask

Reply

Yes but only yearly. I will ask.

Reply

That sounds unpleasant. Poor you. As I understand it from various doctors Potassium and magnesium levels can both be reduced by stress and anxiety levels and the inflammation they create. (And also troponin can be raised but that's another story). That explained to me the difference between potassium and magnesium levels which were normal at a recent pre-op test but were markedly different and very low post op - after I'd had anaesthetic and complications. Luckily I love bananas and green veg! I hope your AF quietens down again.

Reply

That’s interesting as had had a stressful day with tree on rail way line etc!! Thankyou

Reply

You may also like...