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Saturday, April 04, 2009 Jimmy15216, Community Member, asks

Q: Low pulse and low potassium levels

Recently I was admitted to the ER and was kept overnight with very low potassium levels.  I was taking a small dose of HCTZ, 25mg, and I am a gastric bypass patient as well.  I guess my questions are, how do I get my potassium level up?  I have been taking supplements, but I still get the shakes really bad.  I also quit taking the HCTZ as it is a water pill.  My problem is the opposite of most.  I have a low pulse of 39-45 bpm, and high blood pressure and no one has been able to give me another blood pressure medicine that does not make me pass out that works with these symptoms.  Thanks.

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Answers (2)
Lisa Nelson, Health Pro
4/ 6/09 6:04pm

Hi Jimmy15216,


Here are a few foods high in potassium:  Cantaloupe, bananas, potatoes, dates, nuts, oranges, and green leafy vegetables


By adding some of the above foods into your everyday diet, you'll boost your potassium intake.  Below is a link to more information on potassium sources:


All the best,

Lisa Nelson RD

7 Natural Ways to Lower Blood Pressure

J, Community Member
7/15/09 7:14pm

Jimmy - I have been in the ER  twice this year for low potassium.  I was hospitalized for 2 days the last time.  I also had gastric bypass very recently, but was in the ER for low potassium once before and once afterward.  I was also on HCTZ 25 mg the first time but not the second.  My g.p. told me that HCTZ was a very poor choice of medication for someone with gastric bypass as it is a diuretic and people who have gastric bypass already have difficulty staying well hydrated.  She said there are many choices which do not contribute to lower potassium or dehydration.


That having been said, I have also found out that low potassium can be a cause of hypertension and my potassium levels were borderline low BEFORE I started taking HCTZ.  I know it's different for everyone, but the potassium I am taking now has helped in so many ways and my blood pressure is quite low and I don't take a blood pressure med at all.  (Some might say this is a result of the weight loss, but since my surgery was less than a month ago, I don't buy that).  Ask questions about other choices of b.p. meds.  Also, I ate a lot of bananas, spinach, potatos, etc. which were high in potassium but that did not keep it at normal levels.  The last e.r. doctor told me that there is usually a cause for low potassium levels and that it's important to find out why it's low.  Good luck!

zeke, Community Member
7/21/09 12:00pm

My spouse is a new gastric bypass patient also (5 weeks out). He had shaking issues in the am before but no one has diagnosed it. he quit caffeine and nicotine years ago. he's had low pulse 50-60 but now it's 42-50.  you know eating is difficult at this point in the surgery but i wonder now if part of his issue is a lack of food.  i tell him he has to force himself to eat but you know how that goes.  might you comment back?  this response will go straight to him. 

J, Community Member
7/21/09 8:43pm

I add protein powder to a lot of things.  I have trouble eating enough but I also am tired of the Carnation Instant Breakfast so for my snacks, I add 1/2 scoop of protein powder to V-8 or spicy V-8.  I find I feel better if I don't worry about eating enough of anything else except protein.  I take my vitamins faithfully and will get fruits and veggies back in as I can.  I'm sure his doctors told him but getting enough to drink is even more important than the protein.  A couple of times I didn't get my 64 oz in and I felt terrible.  Good luck!J

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By Jimmy15216, Community Member— Last Modified: 12/24/10, First Published: 04/04/09