Electrocardiogram (EKG) is the measurement of electrical waves of the heart as it contracts which is reflected by an heartbeat. The heart has four chambers, namely, the rigth atrium in the right upper area of the heart, the right ventricle in the right lower part of the heart, the left atrium in the left upper area of the heart, and the left ventricle in the left lower part of the heart. The movement of blood starts in the contraction of the right atrium, then, the blood will go to the right ventricle up to the lungs. Then, from the lungs, the blood will go to the left atrium up to the left ventricle, to be expelled throughout the body.
The normal EKG of the persons heart consists of one small wave before the largest wave, and then, another small wave. The first wave reflects the electrical activity of the heart as the right atrium contracts. The largest wave reflects the electrical activity of the left ventricle as it contracts. Finally, the third wave reflects the resting of the ventricles as they finish contracting to expel the blood throughout the body.
Because of the electrical activity existing in the heart, the heart contracts involuntarily to circulate the blood throughout the body. The potassium and other electrolytes caused the heart muscle to contract. Therefore, any deficiencies or excess of these electrolytes can affect the EKG rhythm of the heart, thereby affecting the contraction of the heart to be ineffective. What are the common factors causing potassium deficiency? The consumption of Furosemide/Lasix or other potassium depleting diuretics can cause hypokalemia or low potassium level. Therefore, people who are on Furosemide/Lasix must be on potassium supplement. Another common factor of potassium deficiency is low consumption of potassium rich foods, such as bananas or potatoes.
What are the common factors causing potassium excess or hyperkalemia? The common factors causing hyperkalemia are the consumption of potassium sparing diuretics, such as Spironolactone or Hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ). The kidneys retain the potassium in the body when Spironolactone or Hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ) are consumed. Therefore, the potassium level must be checked frequently when taking these types of diuretics.
If you or your loved one have a skip beat or you feel that your heart is racing, your doctor may require you to do an EKG. Click here for further heart assessment in the Phoenix area.