PBC Foundation
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can hypokalamia (low pottassium in blood) is associated to pbc?

can any of the sufferer or clinican guide me,i am 50 yrs old female patient of pbc diagnosed by liver biopsy,now at present,i have food allergy -to milk egg,soyabeenoil, i have itching,

i devoloped bil. cataract, in short time,i got operated. my more serious problem now is persistant low pottassium in blood,i am taking iv pottassium weekly, oral pottasium has no effect.

can somebody suggest somethings, thanks

2 Replies

Well hello agafurc.

I was diagnosed with PBC Dec 2010 and I am at present 48. The only thing with this PBC 'lark' I have is itching which is confined to night-time (but nevertheless irritating as some nights if I wake it can be a nuisance returning to sleep when tired).

I did look at my potassium levels last yr as my father-in-law was said to have too high potassium as he has kidney problems (he is 81). My daughter was up until recently his carer and she is an ex-vet nurse so knows a bit about medical terminology.

Mine were pretty much normal on looking at the print-out and have been since I had the first abnormal LFT in early 2010.

But my daughter did say she had been given a list of what her grandad should avoid due to him having high levels. I know that there is potassium in bananas (prob eaten raw state) and also in potatoes (if you do not soak them as soaking gets rid of a lot). Don't know if this helps as adding to your diet, you'd have to ask a clinician/dietician.

On my print-out of bloods that I get at intervals (with a struggle I might add from my GP surgery), I did note that potassium is in the kidney one so think that it is related to kidneys.

I got this info below as quoted from the:- hypokalamia - PubMed Health - site (nih.gov website):-

"Potassium is needed for cells, especially nerve and muscle cells, to function properly. You get potassium through food. The kidneys remove excess potassium in the urine to keep a proper balance of the mineral in the body.

Hypokalemia is a metabolic disorder that occurs when the level of potassium in the blood drops too low.

Possible causes of hypokalemia include:

Antibiotics (penicillin, nafcillin, carbenicillin, gentamicin, amphotericin B, foscarnet)

Diarrhea (including the use of too many laxatives, which can cause diarrhea)

Diseases that affect the kidneys' ability to retain potassium (Liddle syndrome, Cushing syndrome, hyperaldosteronism, Bartter syndrome, Fanconi syndrome)

Diuretic medications, which can cause excess urination

Eating disorders (such as bulimia)

Eating large amounts of licorice or using products such as herbal teas and chewing tobaccos that contain licorice made with glycyrrhetinic acid (this substance is no longer used in licorice made in the United States)

Magnesium deficiency




A small drop in potassium usually doesn't cause symptoms. However, a big drop in the level can be life threatening.

Symptoms of hypokalemia include:

Abnormal heart rhythms (dysrhythmias), especially in people with heart disease



Muscle damage (rhabdomyolysis)

Muscle weakness or spasms

Paralysis (which can include the lungs)"

Actually reading it, makes me wonder about a few things and PBC but I'll shut it out. I have to say that I love liquorice myself and do buy it pretty regularly as it is supposed to be rich in iron but reading this I think I shall be cutting down now due to that acid that it contains, might be wise only having for a treat every now and then?

Magnesium is also found in bananas.

Hope this has helped somewhat. Hope you get it under control.


I also have low Potassium and they did say it was because of my PBC. I was dx 7 yrs ago with PBC and it has really effect my digestive tract, potassium levels, nutrition levels such as vitamin asorbtion. I have a nutritionist I have to see. I also take potassium & other suppliments daily. When levels are low I am put on IV form for higher doses. But as long as you keep regular appt and wait it you can keep it until control.


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