For a few weeks I had no energy, very lethargic. My thoughts were real foggy to the point I crashed my car into a pole, simply because I "forgot" to stop. I was dizzy, light headed, and short of breath. My skin on my face was dry and flaky, and my overall health just seemed diminished. I came home from work one afternoon feeling like I had indigestion. As I began to prepare dinner the pain moved to the left side of my chest, then around to my shoulder blade. I proceeded to take a few Motrin which did nothing. Still having chest pains, shoulder pain and light headed, my husband recommended I take a few baby aspirin, "just in case". We got through dinner and I decided to call it a night because I just felt like I needed to lie down.
The following day, I went to work. I was still very lightheaded. My co-workers helped me with my daily duties and told me I should see a doctor because something just wasn't right with me.
The second evening at home, I still was short of breath and very light headed. I decided to pull out my old blood pressure cuff I had bought when my mom was sick. I sat up straight, knees bent at the waist. arm propped level with my heart, and began taking my blood pressure. My blood pressure read 85/55. I texted my younger brother who has been a fire fighter for years and asked what my blood pressure meant. He told me, "it meant I needed a visit to the doctor!" or my blood pressure cuff was not working proper. I stayed in and took it easy that night. I called my boss and said, I was going to take the next day off to get some rest. The following day I had a weird freezing sensation in my chest cavity. Still lightheaded my heart pounding! I walked my kids to the bus stop and decided I would take a shower to see if the freezing sensation would go away with warm water. It did not! I decided to take a trip to Urgent Care to make sure everything was OK. Upon entering the nurses Triage they took my blood pressure and asked my symptoms. Not even two minutes into my visit I was on my way to The Emergency Hospital!
I sat in the parking lot of the emergency hospital and cried. I called my husband at work and told him I was sent to Emergency and to please come home to get the kids when they are done with school. Upon entering Emergency the man behind the desk asked how he could help me. I told him I had been having chest pains and was sent there by urgent care. A nurse rushed out with a wheel chair brought me into my room I would spend the next eight hours in. Once in the room they had me strip down to nothing and hooked me up to an EKG, a bunch of machines, and started doing blood draws. I had chest x-rays to insure I didn't have blood clots in my lungs. My blood pressure was taken every thirty minutes, I was on an IV and oxygen. After a couple hours all my tests came back normal EXCEPT my Potassium levels were low. That sounded stupid! I have a low vitamin in me and I am in the emergency room!?
Potassium is both an electrolyte and a mineral. It helps keep the water (the amount of fluid inside and outside the body's cells) and electrolyte balance of the body. Potassium is also important in how nerves and muscles work.
Potassium levels often change with sodium levels. When sodium levels go up, potassium levels go down, and when sodium levels go down, potassium levels go up. Potassium levels are also affected by a hormone called aldosterone, which is made by the adrenal glands. A potassium level that is too high or too low can be serious. Abnormal potassium levels may cause symptoms such as muscle cramps or weakness, nausea,diarrhea, frequent urination, dehydration, low blood pressure, confusion, irritability, paralysis, and changes in heart rhythm. Many foods are rich in potassium, including scallops, potatoes, figs, bananas, prune juice, orange juice, and squash. A balanced diet has enough potassium for the body's needs. But potassium is passed in the urine even if the level in the blood is low so the level of potassium in the body can get lower. Our hearts are big muscles. Without the proper electrolytes allowing our brain to send signals to our muscles our bodies cannot work properly. So next time you are at the store don't pass up those bananas! Keep your heart healthy...this world needs a lot more Love in it! Have a blessed day!