Preventing a Potassium Overdose and Underdose
Potassium Overdose and Underdose
Those of you who are only beginning to learn about your high blood pressure condition will probably be wondering why so much emphasis is placed on potassium (K 19), and why there is a growing list of potassium rich foods on my site to help people choose diets rich in this mineral.
Well potassium is a macro mineral that your body constantly needs, and because it does not store a reserve, you need to have enough of it in your diet. That is not very hard to do because potassium is found in most foods.
People with high blood pressure however, are encouraged to boost this mineral by eating foods with a high level of potassium. There are several reasons for this.
Hypokalemia and the Causes
Diuretics are prescribed to help patients loose fluid. Potassium is also lost, not unless the medication is a potassium sparing diuretics, where you need to be careful to prevent potassium overdose. You can ask your doctor which of them he has prescribed.
Other reasons include age, chronic diseases, diarrhoea, vomiting, cortisone medications, digitalis, and too much insulin secretion.
The Importance of Getting Enough
Potassium is used in the body to help build muscle tissue. It also helps in the balance of water along with sodium, regulates blood pressure, is necessary for carbohydrate and protein metabolising, and is a electrolyte.
Have you or your children taken a fluid replacement drink after a bout of diarrhoea or vomiting? The ingredients on the packet list potassium along with ingredients for fluid replenishment. This is because it`s vitally important that the body has a measure of potassium at all times. If it gets too depleted you are suffering for what is known as hypokalemia and then you are in trouble because potassium is essential for all muscles and nerves to work in the body. It works by acting as a conductor (an electrolyte) for electrical impulses.
(For further reading on the importance of potassium in regulating blood pressure read – The High Blood Pressure Solution: Natural Prevention and Cure With the K Factor)
The Symptoms of Hypokalemia
Heart problems, fatigue, muscle weakness, heart failure, slow reflexes, dry skin, death.
Hyperkalemia and the Causes
On the other hand, a potassium overdose, known as hyperkalemia, is dangerous too. You can develop this through kidney problems, severe infection, or potassium sparing diuretics.
Those with kidney disease need to be extra careful not to take too much potassium because the kidneys control potassium excretion. A sick kidney can contribute to too much concentrated potassium in the blood stream, and could lead to fatal cardiac arrhythmia.
Too much intake of concentrated potassium chloride can short circuit muscles and nerves causing them to malfunction. This is why one of the symptoms of a potassium overdose are palpitations or irregular heart beat.
To illustrate the dangers of too much potassium, Dr. Jack Kevorkian, the infamous Dr. Death, used concentrated potassium chloride to neutralise the electrical conduction of the heart and stop it beating in dying patients who he assisted in accomplishing euthanasia. He chose this method because it was effective and fast acting.
It is also used as the last of the lethal injections in the execution of criminals because it stops the heart in just a few minutes.
This is not very nice subject material, but I have mentioned it to emphasise how great a role potassium plays in the heart muscle and how too much is not good for you at all.
The Symptoms of Hyperkalemia
A potassium overdose will cause palpitations; stomach cramps; diarrhoea; muscle spasms; slow, weak pulse; irritability; anxiety; tiredness; heart failure.
Although there is said to be no recommendation as to how much potassium to take in the diet, 2,000 ï¿½ 3,000 mg a day is thought to be adequate. Also the Institute of Medicine 2004 guidelines gave a specified RDA of 4,000mg a day. Be careful when supplementing to prevent a potassium overdose. Your doctor can give you information about any dangers and if it is safe for you to supplement. There are some ionized mineral solutions on the market that contain a balanced measurement of minerals that we need each day. Only if you have an underlying problem, this method can present problems and so too can eating food high in potassium. Jon Barron has recommended high blood pressure natural remedies in carefully measured herbal and mineral formulas for helping the body regain it`s natural balance, promoting health. Your body needs the right balance of nutrients to heal itself, and no matter how many drugs you take for the symptoms, they will never address the cause. Get to the bottom of that, and your on the mend.benefit, Blood, celery salt, Dr.Elliot, High Blood, phthalide, potassium, Source