The potassium is a mineral essential for health , which is found in a wide variety of foods . Specifically, it is a mineral that the body needs practically for all its functioning , including the activity of the kidney , muscle contraction, function of the heart or nerve transmission.
Thus, the body uses the amount of potassium it really needs, so the excess is expelled through of the kidneys.
However, if the kidneys do not work properly or there is some type of chronic kidney disease, the risk of hyperkalemia (high potassium levels) is greater; since the kidneys cannot get rid of the excess potassium that the body does not use.
That excess potassium that is not released through the urine travels through the blood. Over time, more and more of this mineral can accumulate in the blood, leading to hypercalcemia.
Problems with high potassium levels
Potassium is an essential mineral for health, so it is necessary to have optimal levels in the body. And it is that having deficient or excessive values can be harmful as well.
In this sense, the National Institute of Health of the United States establishes an interesting table in which it collects the sufficient amount of potassium that a person needs per day, depending on factors such as age and sex:
|Stage in life|
|Babies up to 6 months of age||463 mg|
|Babies 7 to 12 months|
|Children 1 to 3 years||2,000 mg|
|Children from 4 to 8 years old||2,300 mg|
|Children from 9 to 13 years||2,500 mg|
|Girls 9 to 13 years||2,300 mg|
|Adolescents of 14 to 18 years (children)||3,000 mg|
|Adolescents of 14 to 18 years (girls)||2,300 mg|
|Older adults from 19 years (men)||3,400 mg|
|Adults older than 19 years (women)||2,600 mg|
|Teenagers pregnant||2,600 mg|
|Pregnant women||2,900 mg|
|Women in period breastfeeding||2, 800 mg|
Having too much potassium in the blood can cause different problems in the way the muscles work and the way the heart beats.
In this regard, from the ‘American Heart Association’ explain that cases of mildly elevated levels can be treated easily and produce little symptoms. However, severe cases that do not receive treatment can lead to fatal cardiac arrhythmias.
Thus, the only way to determine the amount of potassium we have in our blood with certainty is through a blood test. In this way we can know if the levels are adequate, deficient or high.
How to lower the potassium levels
Yes you have high levels of potassium in your blood, it is usual for your doctor to recommend that you eat a specific diet in which foods high in this mineral do not fit.
It will also be necessary to pay pay attention to the size of the portions that we eat, since most of the healthy foods that we eat in our day to day have potassium.
Thus, your doctor will establish the specific dose of potassium to consume and the way in which you should control the intake of this mineral so that its levels are progressively reduced.
Likewise, along with food, the intake of specific medications can also be indicated for reduce the levels of this mineral in the body. They are drugs that contain active ingredients that act by binding to potassium in the body to prevent them from entering the bloodstream.