My Story with High Potassium

Potassium nearly took my Life.

By Jonathan E Traylor, Sr. 

Be aware of High Potassium

Potassium is a mineral and an electrolyte. It helps your muscles work, including the muscles that control your heartbeat and breathing. Potassium comes from the food you eat. Your body uses the potassium it needs. The extra potassium that your body does not need is removed from your blood by your kidneys. 

On July 8th of 2019, I went into emergency kidney failure, my potassium had reached a score of 9! I was just moments form death and because of my kidney failure my body could not expel the toxins such as potassium and so my body retained these poisons and I was in a very critical state. I was suffering with Hyperkalemiaa very dangerous condition that can affect your heart and in which it did on this very day. 

Pay attention to your Labels

I went into a heart arrhythmia (irregular, fast or fluttering heartbeat) my heart was literally beating out of my chest as if I was running a marathon and it was in a very strange rhythm. The ER doctor immediately looked concerned as I entered from the helicopter ride, he said, “You better grab the crash cart!” as I passed out. I woke up 3 days later on a dialysis machine in the ICU, unknowingly that they had already pulled off 30 lbs. of fluid and saved my life! The staff was amazed that I had lived through this and the Nephrologist said I was just moments from death! 

I have shared this with you to let you know the importance of taking care of your kidneys and to be aware of your potassium levels. I was able to maintain my potassium and manage it by following the renal diet and abstaining from high potassium foods, such as bananas, oranges, tomatoes, dairy products, beans and potatoes just to name a few. I also never missed a dialysis treatment, missing dialysis can cause the toxins (such as potassium) and fluid to build up in the body and so it is crucial that you attend every treatment and stay for the entirety of each session. Potassium is definitely an important factor with kidney patients and some patients also have low potassium so they have to learn how to manage it by eating some foods with potassium but to be careful at the same time to not over indulge. 

Some examples of foods High in Potassium

 I also incorporated an exercise regimen and I cannot stress enough the importance of following the renal diet and exercise especially being a kidney patient. I also want to encourage you to be mindful of your potassium and the effects of high potassium, because of my near-death experience with kidney disease, potassium became a real factor in my life. I always try to keep in mind when making food choices that I need to make smart decisions. I’m now a kidney transplant recipient (8/11/20) and I would never want anyone to experience what I went through with kidney disease & potassium so this is why I share my personal story with you.  

I hope that you will read this and be encourage to manage and be aware of potassium in your diet and to consult with a renal dietitian if you have questions or concerns. I definitely appreciate the AAKP for what they are doing for the kidney community with the Areyouok5.1 program for National High Potassium Awareness Day on May 1st.   


Jonathan E. Traylor, Sr. 

AAKP Ambassador 

Host-Hope with Jonathan 

Published by Hope with Jonathan

Hope with Jonathan puts the spotlight on the patients story giving them a platform to express their personal journey with battling kidney disease, dialysis, transplant and more. We will also advocate for Kidney patients a living organ donation.

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