National High Potassium Awareness Day: Patient Story, Chardae “Prima” Sanders

Patient Story: Chardae "Prima" Sanders, AAKP Ambassador

AAKP Ambassador, Chardae “Prima” Sanders knows the devastating effects of having high potassium.  While on dialysis, Prima says that she did not watch her diet.  She admits, “I was a chip eater!  I would over-eat on chips.  I also ate bananas as a comfort food.  I never thought about the impact; I just thought that the machine would remove all the extra nutrients out of me.” 

Unfortunately, Prima started having an irregular heartbeat and went to the hospital multiple times.  At the hospital, they would give her Kayexalate, a medication to clean the potassium out of her system through diarrhea.  Her unhealthy eating habits had affected her heart.  In 2016 at the age of 27 years, while on dialysis, she had open heart surgery. 

The surgery was a wakeup call for Prima.  She realized she needed to change her eating habits and start exercising.  She was on dialysis another year and a half before she received a kidney transplant.  During that time, she stuck to a kidney-friendly diet.

Today, Prima says that even with her transplant, she continues to monitor her potassium levels closely at her monthly lab tests.  She continues to watch her diet and exercise.  She says she still eats chips and bananas, but in small portions.  She wants patients to know; “Be cognitive of your diet choices, exercise based on your mobility, and know your lab numbers and what they mean.”

Learn more about National High Potassium Awareness Day at www.areyouok.org 

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