High Blood Pressure
Medicine - Potassium and Heart Arrhythmias
See Chart below
It is important to monitor your blood pressure. It is called the silent
killer for a reason. Most people donít realize they have it. The good
news is there are treatments for hypertension (high blood pressure), and
these treatments may save your life. See your doctor for regular
There are several causes for blood pressure including high cholesterol
and hardening of the arteries. Personally, my cholesterol was fine, but
my blood pressure has risen with age. My doctor prescribed me some
medicine for treatment.
My blood pressure has been below 140 (systolic) for my whole life but
when I turned 45 it rose to 150 and soon went even higher. When I
became sick I had it tested again and found it had risen to 180 over 90.
The doctor prescribed 20mg lisinopril. This lowered the systolic
pressure down to about 150. But since it was still high the doctor
prescribed Diovan HCT (valsartan-hydrochlorothiazide Ė 160/12.5 mg).
The HCT is a diuretic. I began taking these medications about 7 months
ago on a daily basis.
About 2 weeks ago I noticed what I thought were heart arrhythmias,
usually when I was laying on my back. I remember having them from time
to time over my life, but not daily. But these happened every day for a
few days in a row. So I began to research.
I found that some people have cured irregular heartbeats by taking
magnesium. So I began taking some magnesium. First I took one pill per
day (about 25% of dayís requirement). I didnít notice much of a
difference. Then one day I decided to up the dosage to 4 tablets. The
arrhythmias went away.
My wife did a little research and found that diuretics can remove
potassium and also cause arrhythmias. So I began eating a banana in the
morning and drinking Gatorade. I noticed the arrhythmias came back even
though I was taking the full dosage of magnesium. What went wrong?
My wife started doing some more research. She found that two of my high
blood pressure drugs can actually raise my potassium levels. Combine
that with excess water intake and the fact that I eat many fruits and
vegetables a day, I believe my potassium levels probably increased, not
Look at your potassium supplements. These supplements will usually have
only 2 or 3 % of your daily allowance. Your body keeps a very precise
balance of potassium and it is dangerous to take too much of it.
Potassium and Sodium help control your muscles.
According to my wife, who knows much more about nutrition than I do,
eating calcium with your meals will help dump potassium from your
system. I found a site that lists foods with high and low potassium
levels. I will post the foods I found at the essortment.com website.
I am not a doctor, so always check with your doctor if you have
arrhythmias. I will probably see my doctor next week.
Food Potassium Levels Chart
High Potassium Levels
||Low Potassium Levels
poultry and fish are high in potassium.
Apricots (fresh more so than canned)
Oranges and orange juice
Potatoes (can be reduced to moderate by soaking
peeled, sliced potatoes overnight before cooking)
Summer squash, including zucchini
Mandarin oranges, canned
These food potassium
levels are based on a 1/2 cup serving. A high level is 225 mg or
more per serving. A moderate potassium level was 125-225 mg per
serving. A low level of potassium was less than 125 mg per
The latest research suggests that
lactic acid buildup (known as acidosis) is a relatively weak contributor
to muscle fatigue at high intensities. It now seems that a much stronger
cause is a type of neuromotor fatigue, specifically, depolarization of
the muscle cells resulting from a shift in calcium-potassium balance.
Here's the new theory: Muscle contractions are
stimulated by electrical currents that flow throughout the body via
minerals including sodium and potassium. Each muscle cell contraction
involves a lightning-fast exchange in which potassium molecules inside
the muscle cell and sodium molecules outside the muscle cell switch
places. These exchanges are most efficient when there is a high degree
of polarization (a difference in the strength of the electrical charge)
between the spaces inside and outside the cells. At the beginning of
high-intensity exercise, the inside of the muscle cell has a much
stronger positive charge than the area outside the muscle cell. This
difference in charge strength makes it easy for sodium and potassium to
cross the cell membrane. During sustained high-intensity activity,
potassium is released from the muscle cells faster than it can be taken
up outside the muscle cells. The resulting buildup of potassium outside
the muscle cells causes a progressive lessening of the difference in
charge strength between the intracellular and intercellular spaces,
hence weaker and less efficient muscle contractions (i.e., fatigue).
By Dan Wilson
Best Syndication Staff Writer
Books on High Blood Pressure
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