Patient Education

Health Library

Our Health Library information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Please be advised that this information is made available to assist our patients to learn more about their health. Our providers may not see and/or treat all topics found herein.

Diuretics and Potassium Supplements

Skip to the navigation

Topic Overview

Some diuretics can cause low levels of potassium. A delicate balance of potassium is needed to properly transmit electrical impulses in the heart. A low potassium level can disrupt the normal electrical impulses in the heart and lead to irregular heartbeats (arrhythmias). If potassium levels are low, a potassium supplement may be prescribed.

Do not start taking potassium supplements on your own. Talk with your doctor first to make sure it is safe for you.

If you take potassium supplements, tell your doctor if you also use a salt substitute that contains potassium. You may need to stop using that salt substitute, because you will get too much potassium. Too much potassium can cause problems.

Potassium supplements are available in liquid, tablet, powder, and effervescent tablet forms.

Blood tests to check for low potassium levels (hypokalemia) are often done during diuretic therapy.

In some cases, an increase in potassium in your normal diet can replace or reduce the need for a supplement. Potassium-rich foods include:

  • Apricots, oranges, prunes, and bananas.
  • Broccoli, spinach, and potatoes.
  • Milk and yogurt.

Credits

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Rakesh K. Pai, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine

Current as ofOctober 5, 2017

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Learn how we develop our content.

© 1995-2017 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.