Potassium is critical for the normal functioning of the muscles, heart, and nerves. It plays an important role in controlling activity of smooth muscle (such as the muscle found in the digestive tract) and skeletal muscle (muscles of the extremities and torso), as well as the muscles of the heart. It is also important for normal transmission of electrical signals throughout the nervous system. Normal blood levels of potassium (3.5 to 5.2) are critical for maintaining regular heart rhythm.
Individuals with Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) often have high blood potassium levels (hyperkalemia). When individuals have reached End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) their kidneys cannot remove excessive potassium from the blood which can lead to cardiac arrest and death. Therefore, early and proper measures should be taken.
Sometimes people with CKD can also develop low blood potassium (hypokalemia) due to inadequate intake of it, diarrhea, vomiting, and diuretics. However, high blood potassium posses the most common challenge. If you are suffering with high levels of potassium, KidneyBuzz.com recommends that you check with your dietitian to ensure that your treatment plan includes a low-potassium diet to correct the symptoms and complications from hyperkalemia. In order to mitigate any further damage you should limit the consumption of foods, fruits, and vegetables which are high in potassium such as avocado, dates, raisins, grapefruit, apricots, mushrooms, sweet potatoes, and spinach.
Potassium plays an important role in regulating muscle tissue and maintaining the balance of a variety of body processes. Too much or too little potassium affects the way your nerves and muscles function. In particular, excess potassium causes the heart muscle to decrease its activity, which may lead to a heart attack. Note, even minor changes in your potassium levels can have serious effects in nerve and muscle function, so no one should take potassium supplements without consulting their Nephrologist.
"Potassium And Renal Failure." -Kidney Failure.
"Causes of Skin Itching in ESRD on Hemodialysis." Causes of Skin Itching in ESRD on Hemodialysis.