Potassium is hard for most Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) patients to limit because it is in so many everyday items. The list of high Potassium foods includes all meats, poultry and fish, apricots, avocado, banana, cantaloupe, honeydew, kiwi, lima beans, milk, oranges and orange juice, potatoes, prunes, spinach, tomatoes, vegetable juice, and salt substitutes to name some of the most common. What's more, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services certain medications may cause Potassium levels to increase including water pills (diuretics) and blood pressure medicines.
For people with kidney disease, Potassium levels can build up to high levels in the blood (Hyperkalemia), and can be dangerous for the heart. For Dialysis patients in particular, Potassium-rich foods are limited because Potassium builds up between Dialysis treatments and may cause problems such as weakness, muscle cramps, tiredness, irregular heartbeat and, worst of all, heart attack.
CKD patients are consistently told by their Healthcare Team to beware of Potassium, and any patient who has had a brush with high Potassium will know only too well how dangerous it can be. There are virtually no symptoms to high Potassium but the effects (heart attack, stroke, etc.) are swift and severe.
Recommended Reading: Too much potassium (hyperkalemia) is dangerous for CKD Patients' Heart Health
Many are surprised to learn that in emergency cases, insulin is given through an IV to help balance your Potassium levels. You should be sure to pick up a No BP/No Stick wristband to protect your fistula should you ever find yourself in that situation.
Recommended Reading: "No BP/No Stick" Medical Alert Bracelet (Red/White)
To limit your risk, talk to your Dietitian about what foods you should be limiting to maintain ideal Potassium levels. KidneyBuzz.com produces meals daily, most of which are low in Potassium, so if you have not already done so, sign up to receive them for FREE every day (http://www.kidneybuzz.com/contact/). Also, talk with your Nephrologists about reducing or switching to lower Potassium statins and "loop diuretics" (increase Potassium excretion). To lower the content in vegetables, simply cut the vegetables up into small pieces, and boil them well in a saucepan then drain them thoroughly.
Most Popular Stories:
David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also Reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. "High Potassium Levels: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia." U.S National Library of Medicine. U.S. National Library of Medicine.
"Potassium, Phosphorus and the Dialysis Diet." Http://www.davita.com/. DaVita HealthCare Partners Inc.
Drew, Stuart. "Potassium and The Dialysis Patient." Http://ezinearticles.com/. EzineArticles.