Potassium is an essential electrolyte. It is one of those chemical substances which is vital for the body to function properly.

It is used by your nerves and muscles, especially your heart.

The body is an amazing and fine balanced machine and just one thing out of kilter can really cause major problems.

Too much or too little potassium is dangerous and Hyperkalemia (too much potassium) is worse than too little, or at least as bad.

Potassium measured as a concentration  in mmol/L  (millimoles per litre) of blood.

  • Normal is between 3.6 and 5.2 mmol/L
  • Critical is higher than 5.5 mmol/L
  • Life-threatening is 6.0 mmol/L or more

In recent days my measured Potassium levels have fluctuated from 4.1 up to 5.9. This has been the reason for my ECG / nebuliser/ insulin and glucose treatments in the past three days as the doctors determined to control the excess potassium levels.

The kidney function, or rather the lack of kidney function is the cause of the build up as potassium is not being removed.  The ultimate cause, the Mulitple Myeloma.

This disease is a nasty one – with lots of hidden depths, bone breaker, kidney killer, heart stopper. The fight goes on an thanks to the excellent doctors and nurses here  the battle is being won.

Low Potassium Diet

One of the ways I will need to tackle the hyperkalemia is, for now at least, to lower my potassium content.

Avoid Alternative
 Fruit Juices and Vegetable Juices  Diluted Squash or cordial, carbonated drinks, water.
 Chips, Jacket Potatoes, Fried Plantain  Boiled Potatoes (150g max), mashed or creamed, boiled plantain (100g), pasta, rice, bread, couscous.
 Bananas, Kiwi, Avocado, Melon, Apricot, Mango  Other fresh fruit including Apples, pears, grapes, tinned or stewed fruit (up to 2 portions per day – 160g total).
 Nuts, seeds, dried fruit, chocolate and products thereof e.g biscuits, cakes, cereals, breads Plain breads, cakes or cereals e.g Digestive, Rich Tea, plain sponge cake, cornflakes and porridge. Plain bread, bagels, croissants, crrumpets and pitta bread.
 Baked beans, mushrooms, spinach Other  vegetables up to two portions per day. Boil vegetables and discard cooking water.
 Coffee (limit to a cup per day)  Tea, including fruit or herbal teas.
 Potato crisps  Corn, maize or rice snacks.

Weirdly some of the above are my favorite foods and I have definitely gone off them in recent weeks – so maybe my brain knows more intuitively than I imagine – even so there are some good alternatives and I’ve never been a great potato fan 🙂


As I finished writing this my Potassium is back up to 6.1 – it’s difficult to control though I feel OK in myself. My own levels may differ from the norm due to my single kidney and other factors but 6.1 is still too high!!

9 thoughts on “Potassium

  1. Helpful info Graham. You’re becoming quite a medical expert! Looking forward to news your potassium level is back to normal!

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