Importance Of Low Potassium Diet


A bunch of green bananas hanging from a tree

Lack of potassium in the body can lead to muscle cramps, irregular heartbeat, and even cardiac arrest. Potassium is an essential mineral that’s used by all living cells for healthy function. It helps regulate fluid balance in your body as well as control blood pressure, bone strength, nerve impulses, and kidney function. A low potassium diet may also play a role in treating high blood pressure because it helps minimize sodium retention. So if you are trying to eat healthier or lower your risk for heart disease, stroke, or kidney stones then this article will help you better understand the importance of a low-potassium diet. The following are five reasons why you should be cautious about too much potassium:

1. High Blood Pressure:

A bowl of fruit

When you eat a low potassium diet, your body tries to maintain its normal potassium levels by releasing more renin and less aldosterone – two hormones that regulate blood pressure and fluid balance in the body. Eating foods high in potassium can override this adaptation mechanism and cause blood pressure levels to rise again. For individuals with hypertension or prehypertension, achieving optimal blood pressure levels is vital for long-term cardiovascular health. A study showed that people whose diets were high in potassium may be at risk of developing hypertension (high blood pressure). They found that those who ate diets rich in fruits and vegetables were approximately 30 percent more likely to develop hypertension than those who consumed low amounts of potassium-rich foods. For each additional 1,000 milligrams of potassium consumed on a daily basis, the risk of developing hypertension increased by 12 percent. However, it is important to keep in mind that although a low potassium diet may lower blood pressure for people with mild hypertension who are otherwise healthy, there is no evidence that this diet can help those who also have kidney disease or heart failure.

2. Kidney stone formation:

A bunch of bananas and other fruit

High dietary intake of potassium has been associated with reduced bone fractures and reduced risk of kidney stones. In particular, higher intakes of orange juice, white grapefruit, and bananas were found to be associated with reduced rates of new calcium oxalate stone formation in men and women who already had calcium stones from a previous incident. However, a high intake of processed foods with added salt and sugar may lead to high potassium levels in the urine.

3. Chronic Kidney Disease:

A low potassium diet may be used as part of treatment for kidney failure or chronic kidney disease (CKD). In patients with CKD, restricting dietary intake of potassium helps minimize the amount of work the kidneys must do as they filter waste from your blood due to decreased ability to perform their normal functions. It is important for individuals on dialysis who have very poor kidney function and require hemodialysis to limit their daily potassium intake because consuming too much potassium can cause life-threatening complications such as paralysis or cardiac arrest. A low potassium diet should also be followed by other kidney transplant patients to reduce the risk of kidney rejection.

4. Gout:

The restriction of high-potassium foods in a low-potassium diet can help avoid or treat gout. Some experts believe that a diet rich in purine, a nitrogen compound that is broken down into uric acid and excreted from the body, may lead to hyperuricemia (high levels of uric acid in the blood) and gout. In addition, studies have shown that increased dietary potassium intake decreases serum concentrations of uric acid due to lowering effects on tubular reabsorption of urate from the renal tubules back to circulation.

5. PMS:

Many women with premenstrual syndrome (PMS) report a low potassium diet helps reduce water retention and bloating, which may be related to reduced sodium sensitivity. A high potassium intake has been found to be associated with an increase in circulating concentrations of aldosterone, a hormone secreted by the adrenal glands that are responsible for increasing sodium retention over potassium levels. As a result, it is suggested that abnormally elevated aldosterone concentrations in some women with PMS could lead to greater volume expansion and higher ambient extracellular fluid osmolality, two factors that have been linked to menstrual symptom exacerbation.

Conclusion

For those that are suffering from kidney disease, it is important to not only maintain a low potassium diet but also to drink plenty of fluids. This will help regulate blood pressure and prevent fluid accumulation in the body which can lead to more serious health complications. It is recommended that your doctor be consulted before making any drastic changes or additions if you have been diagnosed with kidney dysfunction. If you’ve noticed some symptoms of high blood pressure, it may be time for further diagnosis so please consult your physician right away!

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