Sunday, March 25, 2012

Youngest person ever on potassium supplimentation

Ah, yes, the electrolyte issue again!

After I got back from the race weekend in NJ, complete with ER trip, I had repeat bloodwork done at my primary care physician's office. And, wouldn't you know, my potassium levels are borderline low.

I took this weekend off from racing and have been training closer to home while I do a trial of K-dur (a prescription potassium suppliment usually given to older people with heart issues who are on diuretics!). This is interesting because taking a daily potassium suppliment could be very dangerous, if I were to alter (lower) my training/racing plan. Potassium has a very narrow normal range, and then it can cause lethal heart problems including sudden death.

I am currently starting on a fairly low-moderate dose, once a day, and will be completing another set of bloodwork before going to race out of town next weekend. Figuring out my dosage with my physician was an interesting conversation, involving laying out exactly how many hours per week I am training/racing at a high enough intensity to drive down my potassium levels.

Yes, exercise does naturally drive potassium down. Your cells need it to function properly in an aerobic state. And, chronic diarhea also lowers your potassium. Having a high output ostomy and high intensity training/racing for 8-12 hours per week is enough to really knock out some potassium.

How has it been going so far? Well, it took a few days for my body to readjust after getting screwed up last weekend. But, at the end of 5 consecutive training days, I'd say it's going pretty well. I did some team time trial practice with another teammate who didn't race this weekend, and got well into that satisfying place of feeling the hurt!

A photo of me lined up with the most interesting time trial team ever. Notice where I line up to the shoulders of the two guys on either side of me? Oh, Crohn's, why did you have to stunt my growth so terribly? There is almost a full foot height difference there.

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