Recently, youngest was complaining of his heart pounding. This is odd, because he’s not overweight and he’s a runner.
I’m a retired nurse, so I asked him the usual questions: “Is it racing?” “Any chest pain?” “Any shortness of breath?” To which his answer was, “No, just pounding. I can feel it.” So I told him he should get it checked out. But in the meantime, maybe he should eliminate caffeine and nicotine from his daily routine.
He did that and things seemed to be better for awhile. Then one day at work, it started pounding again. So he went to Urgent Care where they did an EKG….Findings: normal rhythm and rate. He was somewhat relieved and so was I. But I kept searching the recesses of my brain trying to recall anything that might cause his heart to do this crazy pounding thing.
Then a couple of nights ago, we were all in the ER because he had an episode of tachycardia (rapid heart rate). Again they did an EKG with the same results. He did have evidence, so to speak, as the EMTs hooked him up to a monitor and ran a strip showing the rapid heart rate. Of course, by the time he got to the ER, it was slowing down.
After a few hours, we were sent home. In the meantime, I’m still racking my brain trying to come up with a possible cause for this cardiac anomaly. But exhaustion overcomes me and I fall asleep for a few hours.
The next day I wake up still thinking about this problem and rightly so. I’m his mom and no mom wants to think about losing their child regardless of the child’s age. So I continue to rack my brain and out of no where a single word pops up…potassium. So I did a little research.
I finally remembered that potassium has a lot to do with how one’s heart works and deficiencies can cause all kinds of problems. But most folks get enough potassium in the foods they eat daily.
Then I remembered youngest ate a lot of potassium rich foods when he lived at home, but he recently moved out (into an apartment with his older brother) and he was evidently not eating right. So I texted him about potassium, sent him several links, and told him to at least get some bananas and oranges. He did that and also checked his My Fitness Pal account, where he logs his food intake. He checked back for several weeks and found that he was getting less than 400mg of potassium daily and on some days none at all. The daily required amount, depending on what site you check, can be 2000mg to 3500mg.
So now he’s checking not only calories on the foods he eats, but also the amount of potassium that particular food has.
I am hoping this is all that is needed to set him right. He did say that he has had no more tachycardia episodes and the pounding episodes have lessened a great deal.
BTW, he does have an appointment to see his doctor on Tuesday. Keeping my fingers and toes crossed for a good outcome.