Potassium is an essential mineral for the proper functioning of the human body, mainly for the nervous system, muscles, heart and to maintain the proper pH level in the blood. And it is just as bad to have it low as it is high in the blood because in both situations conditions are produced in the body. In addition, its blood level is directly related to some pathologies. On this occasion, we are going to focus on high levels of potassium in the blood, which is known clinically as hyperkalemia or hyperkalemia . Its symptoms are diverse, highlighting cardiac arrhythmias, tiredness or dizziness and even fainting. However, if the level of potassium in the blood is very high, it can lead to a heart attack.
Causes of high potassium in the blood
As we have mentioned before, potassium is a key mineral for the proper functioning of the human body. The normal level of potassium in the blood or reference level oscillates between 3.5 mEq/L and 5.5 mEq/L . In this way, any value that falls below or above would be considered abnormal, that is, the potassium level is low or high.
In general, if the blood potassium level is slightly above the reference value, the person does not usually notice many symptoms. On the contrary, they are perceived when the difference in relation to the normal level is higher.
A high level of potassium in the blood can be due to various causes , the most common being:
- Renal insufficiency
- type I diabetes
- Taking medications or diuretic products
- Continued and significant use of anti-inflammatories
- Very intense physical exercise
But, in addition to these causes, high potassium level is also related to problems in the circulatory system. In fact, a study carried out by the Clinical Hospital of Valencia associates potassium levels with the risk of mortality in patients with heart failure.
The research carried out goes a step further than previous studies in which it had already been confirmed that the level of potassium was decisive for the prognosis of this pathology. Now, it becomes clear that both a low and high level of potassium in the blood increases the risk of death after suffering an episode of heart failure. A risk that decreases when the person lowers or raises the level of potassium in the blood, regulating it, until it reaches a normal level.
Foods not recommended to lower potassium in the blood
One of the most important ways to lower blood potassium is to follow a proper diet. And it is that there are foods rich in potassium , which are not convenient to take when you have a high level of potassium in the blood because, with its intake, it only contributes to maintaining or raising it even more. If they cannot be eliminated from the diet, they should be taken in moderation. Among them are:
- Tomatoes, including sauces
- Nuts like walnuts
In addition to this list of foods rich in potassium , you should also try to reduce salt to season foods and other products that substitute it because they are also usually rich in potassium. It is also not convenient to take prepared or precooked dishes, as well as packaged foods, because they contain a high content of potassium and salt, as well as artificial juices or those prepared to be made at home.
And, of course, it is convenient to reduce fat, choosing to eat meat and white meat proteins such as chicken or turkey, but always in small quantities.
The best foods to lower potassium in the blood
Following a diet rich in low-potassium foods is the most effective way to lower blood potassium. The possibilities are several because you can eat all the foods that are not included in the previous section that we have commented on.
In any case, there are foods on this list that stand out for being especially low in potassium and for naturally helping the body to eliminate it, thus helping to lower blood potassium . For example, the following low-potassium foods stand out :
- White rice
- Non-wholemeal pasta
- Red fruits like blueberries
All these options are among the most effective due to their diuretic nature, helping to avoid retaining fluids in the body naturally. And it is that potassium is eliminated from the body mainly through urine.
What to drink to lower potassium in the blood
If you have to lower blood potassium, it is very important to also monitor what you drink. And it is that, as we have commented in the first section, the level of this mineral in the body is related to dehydration. In this way, keep in mind that to lower potassium in the blood you can drink :
- Water: it is essential to drink water to be well hydrated and also to eliminate potassium through urine. It is advisable, at least, to drink two liters of water daily.
- Juices: they can be taken, but as long as they are natural and made only with fruits with low potassium content such as strawberries or blueberries.
- Milk: rice milk is a good substitute for cow's milk and can be taken for breakfast perfectly. Animal milk and dairy products should be taken with care because they often contain a lot of potassium.
- Coffee and tea: they can be taken without problems, but be careful if you drink them with milk. Again, it is possible to resort to rice milk.
Other tips to lower potassium in the blood
In addition to following a proper diet and, as we have mentioned, rich in foods with low potassium content, it is also important to know another series of recommendations and solve some doubts:
- Cooking food: when cooking food -for example vegetables-, it is better to boil them because that way they lose more potassium than when consumed raw or steamed.
- Diuretics: although many of the foods low in potassium help to eliminate it through the urine, the truth is that it is not recommended to take diuretic treatments because they can accelerate the dehydration process and increase the level of potassium in the blood, apart from producing other deficiencies. This includes plants and natural or herbal treatments such as dandelion and horsetail, among others.
- Home remedies: you should not follow any home remedy that you have heard because they are not effective, there is always some component rich in potassium and health is put at risk. And highs or lows in potassium are no joke.
These are tips on how to lower potassium in the blood that we tell you about in a Remember that you should always consult a doctor and specialist and follow the guidelines indicated.