What is Potassium? What Happens in the Body with High and Low Potassium?
Active in water and passive in nature, potassium loses its properties when in contact with air. Potassium, which cannot be produced by the body, is taken ready-made with food. So what is the importance of potassium for the body?
Potassium is an alkali metal. Potassium, a soft and solid element, is active in water and passive in nature. It loses its properties in contact with air. It is not produced by the body and is taken from the outside with food. Approximately 98-99% of the potassium mineral is found inside the cell. 80% of this is in muscle cells. Its rate is higher in some tissues such as liver, bone, skeletal muscle.
What is Potassium?
Potassium; It takes part in the functions of enzymes, cell division and growth, DNA synthesis, balancing heart functions and blood pressure, regulation of reflexes, proper functioning of the heart, prevention of edema formation, acid and base balance, fluid-electrolyte balance.
The most important task of potassium in the body is to maintain the body's fluid and electrolyte balance by working in correlation with sodium metal.
The absorption of potassium element is through the small intestine, and its excretion from the body is through the kidneys. In medical language, high potassium is called hyperkalemia and low potassium is called hypokalemia.
High or low potassium as a result of nutritional or chromosomal disorders may pose a risk to human health. It can even cause permanent problems.
What Is High Potassium?
Potassium elevation, potassium shifting out of the cell, excessive potassium intake or low potassium excretion from the body occur as a result of kidneys not performing their functions fully. Exercising for a long time, burns and injuries can cause blood potassium levels to rise. Consuming potassium-rich foods and taking potassium medications can also increase potassium levels. Drugs and diseases that increase the level of potassium in the blood can be listed as follows:
- NSAIDS group drugs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs)
- Beta blocker
- Kidney failure
- Addison's disease
What Are the Symptoms of High Potassium?
Symptoms of high potassium in the body usually appear late. Some symptoms of high potassium can be listed as follows:
- Hand and foot numbness
- Loss of consciousness
- Weakness in hand, arm and leg muscles
- Heart palpitations
- Kidney stone
- Kidney failure
In the treatment of high potassium, it is recommended not to consume foods rich in potassium first. Foods to avoid are potatoes, cocoa, coffee, offal, legumes and vegetables.
What Is Low Potassium?
Potassium deficiency, called hypokalemia, means that the potassium level in the blood drops below 3.5 mmol. Potassium deficiency may be caused by the passage of potassium into the cell, a lack of nutrition rich in potassium, excessive potassium excretion from the kidneys and/or excessive excretion from the intestines. Some of the conditions that can cause low potassium include:
- Excessive alcohol use
- Overuse of constipation medicine
- Magnesium deficiency
- Excessive secretion of the hormone aldosterone
- Kidney diseases
- Excessive coffee consumption
- Taking too many diuretics
What Are the Symptoms of Low Potassium?
Potassium regulates the functions of cells, tissues and organs. As long as the blood value does not fall below 3 mmol, individuals usually do not have symptoms. Some of the symptoms that may develop due to low potassium include:
- Irregular heartbeat
- Digestive system disorders
- Cramps in leg and arm muscles
- Muscle Weakness
- Breathing difficulties
- Frequent urination
Potassium-poor foods can be listed as apple, cranberry, pear, watermelon, asparagus, broccoli, cabbage, eggplant, pepper, tea, chestnut, onion, lettuce and kale. ) can be given via potassium.
What Should the Potassium Value Be?
The minimum amount of potassium an adult should take daily is 2 grams. The amount sufficient for the body in adults is 4.7 grams. It is known as 400 mg for 0-6 months babies, 700 mg for 7-12 months babies, 3000 mg for 1-3 years old, 3800 mg for 4-8 years old, 4500 mg for 9-13 years old.
The daily amount of potassium that pregnant women should take is the same as adults, but the need for potassium increases in lactating women and this value is 5.1 grams.
Foods High in Potassium
Foods such as black grapes, potatoes, prunes, dried apricots, figs, blackberries, peas, artichokes, zucchini, bananas, spinach, salmon, lentils, beans, avocados, tomatoes, grapefruit, figs, kiwi, blackberries, carrots and beets are rich in potassium.