Q. I feel a sudden change in heartbeat. Will Potassium tablet help?



Hi doctor,

Can a normal person take Potassium Chloride (99 mg) tablet for good working of the heart? I sometimes feel a sudden change in my heartbeat. Will this tablet help to rectify that? What are the side effects of the above mentioned tablet? I have started taking it just three days before and I did not see any improvement.





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  • No, Potassium chloride should not be taken without measuring serum potassium levels on daily or alternate day basis.
  • Homeostasis mechanism in our kidneys maintains the level of sodium and potassium in our body. Though 1000 mg potassium can be taken daily, but it is only indicated in patients on a low sodium diet or patients who are having low potassium levels in the blood (hypokalemia).
  • If you are noticing sudden changes in your heartbeat, then serum electrolytes should be done. Also, an EC should be taken.
  • Potassium is vital for normal activity of heart, but that amount of potassium is easily available to body through fruits and food we eat.
  • An increased level of extracellular potassium reduces myocardial excitability (contraction of the heart muscles) and depresses the conduction of the heartbeat.
  • A serum potassium level more than 7 milliequivalents per liter can be fatal also. It can cause blockage of the conduction system of the heart and arrhythmias.
  • My suggestion is stop taking potassium tablets on your own and get a serum electrolyte level and an ECG done to check the levels of potassium in your blood as skipped beats can be because of high levels.
  • If you feel sudden changes in your heartbeat, kindly do answer the following questions. Are you hypertensive? Do you smoke or drink alcohol? Kindly explain your lifestyle. For how long does this feeling last? Is this feeling accompanied by sweating?
  • You should get an ECG done as sudden change in heartbeat can be anything from normal tachycardia to arrhythmias. A detailed history, ECG and serum electrolyte level are important to know before making a valid comment.

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