End of July I had blood work done and it turned out I had high potassium. I was told to stop drinking my protein shake (I occasionally drink a Premier Protein, chocolate flavour) and the thought was it was probably high in potassium and may be the culprit. I doubted this as I rarely drink them, but nobody seemed to listen to me when I tried explaining how infrequently I drink them so I ended up nodding and agreeing to quitting the protein drink.
Last week I had another appointment for blood work – this was to see if the potassium level had gone down after being off the protein drink for a week.
The follow-up for this set of blood work was with my GP, not anybody from the eating disorder program. I don’t go see her often, I don’t get sick often, and I don’t care for doctors so I tend to avoid her. I have to tell her every time I see her that I am in the ED recovery program even though I’m sure it must be in the file she is reading because she skims, doesn’t read stuff, and has no idea what is going on with me.
Fine, whatever, I can deal with that.
Well today she takes a look at the most recent blood work report and says “your potassium is high”
I say “yeah I know, this is the follow-up to the first test that showed it is high”
Then she gets her panties in a twist because some other doctor is involved with sending me for blood work *rolls eyes*
She then decides that my potassium must be high because of something I am eating. If it was high because of other problems my other test results would be abnormal and they are all showing as fine.
Side note: the fact that all my other test results show things within my body are fine make me wonder if I don’t need treatment, since obviously I haven’t done damage to my body so I can’t be doing anything all that bad…right?
She then goes on to say I have to stop eating bananas, asparagus, and orange juice.
I told her I don’t eat, or drink, any of those things.
The convo went a bit like this..
Doc: “What do you mean you don’t drink orange juice?”
Me: “I don’t drink orange juice”, shrug, “I don’t drink any juice, too much sugar, it’s unhealthy.”
Doc: obviously not believing me “Everyone drinks juice. You don’t drink any juice?” looking at me like I’m going to change my story…
Me: “Nope, I don’t drink juice.”
Doc: “Well, hmm…you also need to stop eating bananas. And asparagus.”
Me: “I only eat asparagus once a month at most, and only in small amounts, but ok, I’ll stop. I don’t eat bananas, I stopped eating those months ago.”
Doc: “You don’t eat bananas?” gives me disbelieving look
Me: “Nope, haven’t eaten one in months.” (then I lied and said…) “It’s summer, I stopped eating bananas because I’m eating all the summer fruit.” I wave my hand around vaguely as if to indicate towards all the copious amounts of summer fruits around. When in reality I am not eating any of those either…too much sugar…
Doc: “hmm…” seems to possibly believe I might not be eating bananas because I am eating other fruits.
Doc: “Still! Your high potassium levels must be because of something you are ingesting, check everything you eat, read all nutritional labels, see how much potassium is in everything before you eat it. Don’t eat any processed foods, they are all high in potassium, and cut back on how much salt you use when cooking.”
Me: “I don’t use salt when cooking.”
Doc: “You don’t use salt, when cooking? Of course you do. There are two types on the store shelves, make sure to choose (insert specific type of sale here) instead of the other, this type is better for you. But still, don’t use too much of it, cut back, you’re using too much.”
Me: “I can’t cut back, I don’t use it. I don’t cook with it, I don’t season with it. I haven’t bough salt in years.”
Doc: looks at me like I am a lunatic
Me: “So how much potassium should I be getting in a day?”
Doc: “Not as much as other people because we need to bring your levels down and you’re eating too much of it.”
Me: “Yeah, I get that, but I don’t know how much I should be aiming for…and what is considered too high for a serving? If a serving of something has say, 50mg of potassium, should I consider that too high and not eat it, or is it only too high if it is over 100mg per serving?”
Doc: didn’t answer any of those questions, went back to talking about how I must be ingesting too much potassium and then said “google a list of foods high in potassium and don’t eat any of them”
So…she didn’t tell me how much potassium I should be trying to get in a day, and she told someone who restricts their food intake to restrict it even more…wtf.
I didn’t even know what to say, so I said nothing and left…left with a form to get more blood work done in 3 weeks so she can see if the potassium levels have gone down. Oh, and the warning that if I experience chest palpitations or chest pain to go to the ER asap because high potassium could kill me.
I haven’t decided if I will google the list of high potassium foods or not. I know I should, so that I know what to stay away from, but I don’t know that I should be increasing my list of unsafe foods. Even if the list contains mostly things I already don’t eat, if I think I have a medically sound reason to not eat them how will I ever manage to increase my list of safe foods? Today I’ve been checking nutritional labels for potassium and found that not all labels show potassium. I’m not sure if that means the food has so little of it they don’t put it on, or if it is because it is not required to put potassium on a nutrition label.
I have a meeting with my nutrition person from my recovery program next week so I guess I’ll just ask her all the questions and see if she knows the answers.
Doctors. *shake my head* next to useless, sigh.