Potassium Deficiency Affects Blood Pressure
Could you be suffering from potassium deficiency? It is the most common of electrolyte imbalances among mankind so it`s a high possibility!
There are several means by which you could be robbed of this vital macro mineral and most of them are dietary causes. A high salt intake is the most notorious one. It causes the potassium to be excreted at a higher rate faster than it can be replaced.
Don`t get me wrong, we need sodium to help regulate fluid and blood pressure, but it needs to be at the correct ratio to potassium. Afro-Americans especially are salt sensitive but deficiencies run high in all cultures because of the increase in salt consumption.
It is believed that human diets in times past were mainly of nuts, seeds and vegetables, all high in potassium and that`s why the body continually secretes it no matter how little or how much you take in, so we always need a good amount of it daily in our diets. That can`t happen if we are constantly eating foods low or void of it!
Is it really true that a higher intake in potassium can lower blood pressure? Well you all have probably heard of the DASH diet. That diet was specifically developed for high blood pressure after studying how nutrition affects the cardiovascular system. The study linked low potassium levels to hypertension.
You may also take note that according to the AHAjournals, a higher dietary intake can work several ways to reduce blood pressure.
Some examples they mention are that it may work on smooth muscle, relaxing the blood vessels. It may work on the renin-angiotensin system reducing influence over the vascular, renal, or adrenal receptors. Also another way it may work is as a diuretic reducing fluid volume. But then again, they found it did not work with every model so more research is needed. However, according to their findings the dietary manipulation of sodium and potassium can either reduce hypertension or increase it, so it became appealing to them to investigate further.
Some Symptoms of Potassium Deficiency
- High blood pressure
- dry skin
- irregular heartbeat
- low blood pressure
- salt retention
- diminished reflexes
- breathing problems
- high cholesterol
You may have one or some of these symptoms, but really you need to be diagnosed by a qualified doctor.