Potassium levels

How to Lower Potassium Levels

Max. D Gray
By Max. D Gray. Updated: June 3, 2018
How to Lower Potassium Levels

Let us see in detail how to lower potassium levels in blood and restore normal potassium levels. Potassium (chemical element K) is a mineral, in the same way as sodium or chlorine. As an electrolyte, it promotes the passage of nerve impulses throughout the body, including the heart muscle. Muscular contraction therefore depends partly on potassium. But its function does not end there: it is essential to regulate the pH of cells, to operate the kidneys and the adrenal glands, to synthesize certain proteins and to metabolize certain carbohydrates. But excess is never good, even for potassium: if according to the ionogram your rate exceeds 5 mmol / L (millimoles per liter) in the blood plasma, you are in hyperkalaemia, which can lead to life-threatening.

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  1. Causes and symptoms of too high a potassium level
  2. What to do if you have a high level of potassium
  3. Natural remedies for high potassium levels
  4. Foods high in potassium (to be avoided)
  5. Ion exchange resin
  6. How to treat acidosis?

Causes and symptoms of too high a potassium level

Hyperkalaemia affects one in ten patients in hospitals, making it a common problem. Only a physician can determine the exact cause of the abnormal increase in your potassium levels; this can be treated, where possible.

The kidneys are responsible for eliminating excess potassium, but it is not always involved. Possible causes include:

  • Kidney Diseases and Failures
  • Hyperglycemia
  • Some iatrogenic drugs (beta-blockers, digitalis, agonists, succinylcholine, arginine hydrochloride)
  • Decreased red blood cells
  • Hemolytic Anemia
  • Severe infections
  • Addison's Disease
  • Acute Acidosis
  • Acute cell lysis
  • Insulin deficiency
  • Diuretics distal or "potassium-sparing"

Symptoms are not always felt by the patient, including people with major hyperkalaemia. The main symptoms are:

  • Cardiac problems: bradycardia (cardiac rhythm too low) and palpitations
  • Neuromuscular problems: paresthesia (tingling, tingling) around the mouth and extremities, muscle weakness or even paralysis
  • Nausea and vomiting

In severe cases and in the absence of treatment, an excessively high potassium level may cause cardiac arrest.

What to do if you have a high level of potassium

There are currently two types of treatment to reduce a high potassium level:

Hospital treatment

If the electrocardiogram reveals serious abnormalities or hyperkalemia exceeds 6.5 mmol / L, the patient is transferred to the resuscitation department to undergo treatment that will lower potassium levels and protect the heart. The techniques used are various: 10 ml ampules of intravenous calcium gluconate, perfusion of glucose serum and insulin, administration of beta-mimetics or even hemodialysis (other treatments, such as ZS-9 OR and patiromer, currently Subject of research).

The ambulatory treatment

If hyperkalaemia is moderate and there are no cardiac or metabolic disorders, the treatment consists in maintaining a suitable level of potassium and, where possible, treating the cause. The treatment is based on three levels: a diet low in potassium, taking an ion exchange resin and correcting acidosis when it exists.

How to Lower Potassium Levels - What to do if you have a high level of potassium

Natural remedies for high potassium levels

The intake of potassium is achieved mainly through food. A diet low in potassium should be used to lower your serum's potassium. Here is the list of foods low in potassium:

  • Fruits: pineapple, blueberries, cherries, lemons, clementines, strawberries, raspberries, canned fruits, currants, lychees, mandarins, mango, watermelon, blackberries, peach, apple, plum, grapes.
  • Vegetables: asparagus, eggplant, canned beetroot, broccoli, uncooked celery, cauliflower, cucumber, green beans, lettuce and escarole, corn, fennel, leeks, peppers.
  • Meat: beef, chicken, pork, turkey.
  • Fish: avoid fatty fish.
  • Dairy products: avoid chocolate milk and commercial products; Prefer fresh milk.
  • Grain products: bagels and white flour breads, pale rye bread, white rice, white pasta.
  • Other: olives and olive oil, ordinary coffees and teas (excluding cappuccino, espresso, Turkish), honey, jams, soft drinks (except sodas), butter.

Foods high in potassium (to be avoided)

Here are the foods that contain the most potassium and should be avoided in case of hyperkalaemia:

  • Legumes: red, white and black beans; Lentils, dry peas, soybean, peanut
  • Vegetables: chips, Brussels sprouts, artichokes, pumpkin, tomatoes, carrots, cheese, avocado, black radish, cooked spinach, potatoes and tubers
  • Dried fruits especially almonds, walnuts and peanuts
  • Fruits: banana, orange, kiwi, coconut, prunes, chestnuts
  • Animal proteins: red meat in excess, squid, mussels
  • Grain products: whole grain bread, whole wheat bread, bagels, black rye bread, brown rice, whole wheat pasta
  • Others: chocolate, cocoa

You can decrease the potassium potatoes by boiling them twice:

  • Wash and peel the vegetable.
  • Cut into dices
  • Put the dice in a large saucepan of water
  • Boil the water
  • Remove water, replace with fresh water
  • Boil again until the vegetable is tender

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Ion exchange resin

The second part of the outpatient's treatment: the use of an ion exchange resin. This resin is a set of insoluble macromolecules which comprises ionizable groups. The principle of ion exchangers is to exchange the central ion of one complex to form another. Ion exchange resins, such as zeolite, make it possible to modify the ionic composition of the patient.

How to Lower Potassium Levels -  Ion exchange resin

How to treat acidosis?

The third and final component of outpatient treatment: the correction of acidosis, if the patient has it. Acidosis is an acid-base imbalance in which the acidity of the blood increases (the pH goes below the normal of 7.35 and the H + hydrogen ions become superabundant).

In case of acidosis in the patient with hyperkalaemia, the doctor may prescribe the following treatment:

  • Sodium bicarbonate at a rate of one teaspoon twice a day, especially in diabetics in a state of hyporeninism-hypoaldosteronism and associated acidosis.
  • Consumption of raw vegetable juice and sparking water
  • Avoid foods that produce acidity (some are already on the list of potassium-rich foods above) and adopt an alkaline diet

Recommendation: Do a blood test to determine your potassium level and bring the results to your doctor to make a diagnosis and get the best possible treatment.

This article is merely informative, oneHOWTO does not have the authority to prescribe any medical treatments or create a diagnosis. We invite you to visit your doctor if you have any type of condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to How to Lower Potassium Levels, we recommend you visit our Diseases & secondary effects category.

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How to Lower Potassium Levels