WHAT IS POTASSIUM?
“Potassium is one of the seven essential macrominerals [calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sodium, potassium, chloride, and sulfur]. The Adequate Intake recommendation for potassium is 4,700 milligrams (mg) per day for adults. Most adults do not meet this recommendation. Potassium is present in all body tissue and is required for normal cell function.
WHAT IS POTASSIUM GOOD FOR?
A high potassium intake reduces the risk of overall mortality by 20 percent. It also decreases the risk of stroke, lowers blood pressure, protects against loss of muscle mass, preserves bone mineral density, and reduces the formation of kidney stones. Potassium deficiency can lead to fatigue, weakness, and constipation. It can escalate to paralysis, respiratory failure, and painful gut obstructions.
Certain diuretics (e.g., thiazide diuretics) that are commonly used to treat high blood pressure increase urinary potassium excretion and can cause hypokalemia (low potassium).
Likewise, certain foods, medicines and supplements can cause hyperkalemia (high potassium), causing serious heart problems.
Both conditions can be harmful to your health.
POTASSIUM DEFICIENCY (HYPOKALEMIA)
Certain conditions can cause potassium deficiencies. These include:
overuse of diuretics
excessive sweating, diarrhea, and vomiting
use of antibiotics, such as carbenicillin and penicillin
Signs of a potassium deficiency include:
muscle spasms, weakness, or cramping
constipation, nausea, or vomiting
TOO MUCH POTASSIUM (HYPERKALEMIA)
Hyperkalemia can happen if your kidneys don’t work properly and cannot remove potassium from your body or if you take certain medicines.
Conditions that can affect the kidney's ability to remove potassium from the body include:
Other kidney diseases
Signs of too much potassium:
Tiredness or weakness
Feeling of numbness or tingling
Nausea or vomiting
Palpitations or irregular heartbeats.
Be certain to see your physician regarding the proper amount of potassium for you.
WHERE CAN I GET POTASSIUM?
Fruits, such as apricots, bananas, kiwi, oranges, and pineapples
Vegetables, such as leafy greens, carrots, and potatoes
Beans and nuts
Tips for adding potassium foods to your healthy diet:
Add spinach or other leafy greens to your sandwiches.
Toss fresh or dried apricots into plain nonfat yogurt for a snack.
Enjoy a cup of low-sodium bean soup for lunch.
Eat a small baked potato or sweet potato instead of bread at dinner.
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