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Skipped heart beats, low normal POTASSIUM. Should I worry?

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I had a wellness blood test this morning, and my potassium level came back at 3.9. It says it's in the normal range, but it looks to me like it's on the very low side of normal. Should I be concerned? I do have a lot of skipped heart beats, but the doctors relate them to anxiety. I wore a halter monitor about a month ago, and the cardiologist said the skipped beats are benign and nothing to worry about. But I'm wondering if they are caused by a low potassium level. I called the doctor this morning and asked, but the nurse told me my potassium level was just right. Please give me your opinion. Thank you. I'm really concerned about this.

I also had a BUN reading of 24, and creatinine was 1.11. These numbers have been pretty much in this range for the past 3 or 4 years, so I'm not particularly concerned about those numbers. But usually my potassium is ih the range of 4 somewhere, so this 3.9 is concerning to me. Thank you so much.

Category: Family Physician-GP

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Category: HIV- AIDS Specialist
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Thank you for your query at
Serum electrolytes have a fixed range and they should always be in that range for optimum functioning of the body's cells. They are fixed after a lot of statistical analysis taking samples from population and this range is fixed. So the normal range and standard for potassium being 3.5- 4.5 mmol/L, anything in this range is considered to be normal. Be it 4.4 or 3.6, it's all the same. There is no concern at all.
As far as potassium in your reports, it is normal and definitely not the cause of any skipped beats.
Those could be due to anxiety and seems benign.
Your BUN and creat is also normal and that is a good sign.

Patient replied :

Thank you so much for your reply. I feel so much more at ease. My husband died 3 years ago, and I"m still a little anxious about living alone. But I'm healthy and thankful for that I was concerned about the 3.9 potassium level because I read on the Internet that it'could be considered in the low range. One report said that it could cause heart arrythmias and I was so worried. But I do believe that what you are telling me is true. You are the doctor. I just read too much on the Internet! That's not a good thing to do. I appreciate your response, and I feel so much better about this. One last question ----- As long as the potassaium level fluctuates within the normal range, it's perfectly fine. Is that correct? In other words, can this fluctuate enough that the reading might be different at different test times, but still be considered normal if it stays within the normal range?
I've had skipped heart beats since July. Sometimes they are so nasty and last a long time. The cardiologist said that they were called ectopic beats and they were not worrisome. So I'm trying to accept that. I'm glad that you are sure they aren't related to my potassium level.
Thank you again for your most kind and professional advice.

Thank you for the follow up.
If the potassium is within that range there is no reason to worry. 3.6 or 4.4 is the same really.
Yes with deranged values there are chances of arrhythmias, however in your case there is no need to worry.
Your cardiologist is right, these are ectopic beats and occur sporadically. These are of benign origin.

Patient replied :

The lab where I had my test done used the following potatssium range for normal; 3.5 - 5.1. That's why I thought I 3.9 was getting too low. Your range is a litlte different. I have just one additional question: The results of my cholesterol test were as follows: Total cholesterol was 203. HDL was 61 and LDL was 122. Are these still acceptable numbers? Again, thank you so much for all of your reassurance. I appreciate it so much. I will give you the highest rating after this discussion is closed. Thank you..

Thank you for the follow up.
I am glad i have been able to help you through my replies.
Yes the range i mentioned is the optimum range ( 3.5-4.5 ) the normal overall ranges from 3.5-5.0 mmol/L
Regarding your cholesterol LDL and HDL are fine. Total cholesterol is borderline, but nothing alarming really. You just need to maintain your diet and exercise daily ( 45 minute- 1 hour brisk walk daily ) will maintain your cholesterol and BP values.
Overall, there is nothing to be concerned about right now.

Dr. Jaydeep Tripathy
Category: HIV- AIDS Specialist
MBBS from Sri Ramachandra University in December 2011
M.Med (Family Medicine) - TNMGR University, Chennai
MBA-MPH in Public Health in March 2016, SRM University
Finished AFIH in March 2016, SRM University
MRCP ( UK ), Internal Medicine, Royal College of Physicians, June 2016
Fellowship in Diabetology from Martin Luther University in January 2017

Currently Resident Physician, in MD Radiodiagnosis - Kamakshi Memorial Hospital, Chennai
Dr. Jaydeep Tripathy and 4 other Medical Specialists are ready to help you

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