Discussions By Condition: Cardiovascular disease

Hypertension with hypokalemia, as a young male athlete

Posted In: Cardiovascular disease 2 Replies
  • Posted By: Anonymous
  • May 4, 2009
  • 08:21 PM

I'm an intermediate level competitive weightlifter, first diagnosed with hypertension a few years ago in an anatomy lab. I thought it was a mistake. Turns out for a few years I've had high blood pressure of 140-150/90. I'm 24 now. Symptoms probably began when I was 22 or so.

My dad's side of the family have all dealt with it. My dad keeps his blood pressure in normal ranges by eating a low sodium diet.

I'm 5'8" tall and 165 lbs, so BMI would tell you I should lose weight, but my body fat is in the 10-12% range. I eat very well - lots of fruits and vegetables, no salt on anything, little processed food, take my vitamins and omega 3s.

Lab results showed high creatinine and hypokalemia (3.2mEq). My cardiologist told me to go easy on the post workout protein shakes and come back in after a month. I did - the creatinine level dropped, hypokalemia and hypertension didn't improve.

Despite how careful I am about my diet, I think I could use more potassium. I spot checked my diet in Fitday and on that particular day, potassium was the only micronutrient I was low on. I'm hesitant to supplement though because of how serious hyperkalemia can be.

What do I do? My doctor's recommendations seemed pretty clueless. He didn't catch that the high creatinine correlates with being male and muscular and didn't touch on the issue of mild hypokalemia at all. Is there a way for me to supplement potassium in a controlled fashion and stop it if I appear at risk for hyperkalemia?

Thanks.

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2 Replies:

  • If you're already eating lots of fruit and veggies and cutting way down on salt, then it looks like the only way to raise your potassium is to take supplements but not for an indefinite amount of time. I would take it for a few days and recheck the level.:)I'm an intermediate level competitive weightlifter, first diagnosed with hypertension a few years ago in an anatomy lab. I thought it was a mistake. Turns out for a few years I've had high blood pressure of 140-150/90. I'm 24 now. Symptoms probably began when I was 22 or so. My dad's side of the family have all dealt with it. My dad keeps his blood pressure in normal ranges by eating a low sodium diet.I'm 5'8" tall and 165 lbs, so BMI would tell you I should lose weight, but my body fat is in the 10-12% range. I eat very well - lots of fruits and vegetables, no salt on anything, little processed food, take my vitamins and omega 3s. Lab results showed high creatinine and hypokalemia (3.2mEq). My cardiologist told me to go easy on the post workout protein shakes and come back in after a month. I did - the creatinine level dropped, hypokalemia and hypertension didn't improve. Despite how careful I am about my diet, I think I could use more potassium. I spot checked my diet in Fitday and on that particular day, potassium was the only micronutrient I was low on. I'm hesitant to supplement though because of how serious hyperkalemia can be.What do I do? My doctor's recommendations seemed pretty clueless. He didn't catch that the high creatinine correlates with being male and muscular and didn't touch on the issue of mild hypokalemia at all. Is there a way for me to supplement potassium in a controlled fashion and stop it if I appear at risk for hyperkalemia?Thanks.
    birdie 40 Replies
    • December 24, 2009
    • 11:36 PM
    • 0
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  • There are Prescription Potassium supplements available from your Dr. And I'm sure an extended-release low dose form, if not already out there, could be compounded for you at a Compounding pharmacy at your doctors orders. But before taking any potassium supplements, I get your aldosterone levels checked.If you have high Aldosterone, you can develop hypertension and hypokalemia simultaneously. Do your family members with hypertension also have low potassium? Aldosterone is the hormone that is responsible for sodium retention and potassium excretion in the urine. The actions of aldosterone are as follows: it causes your kidney to reabsorb sodium from your urine (before you pee it out) and excrete more potassium into your urine. water follows sodium because of the osmolarity gradient. net effect--you retain sodium and water (increase blood pressure) and excrete potassium. So what causes aldosterone to go up? --low blood sodium levels!!! (which can lead to high blood potassium, high ACTH, high Angiotensin II)--high blood potassium levels--low blood volume or pressure (from dehydration or blood loss, etc.)--blood acidosis--a few other thingsIf you are a male athlete and drinking tons of water and eating a low salt diet, you could actually have too little salt. You heard me, too little. Salt is so vilified today because many people consume absurd amounts of it in processed foods leading to hypertension, but a healthy, diet-conscious athlete like you needs a normal amount of salt if not more because of how much you lose in your sweat when you work out!Other causes of high aldosterone, which would be less likely: internal bleeding or dehydration (from vomiting, diarrhea, not enough water, etc.), aldosterone secreting tumor, ...Hope this helps, and post your results if you do get your aldosterone checked!
    Anonymous 42789 Replies Flag this Response
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