Potassium is an essential micro-mineral in the body. The potassium ions present in blood control nerve function and heart rate. 98 percent of the potassium in the body is found inside the cells.
Appropriate potassium intake (100 milligrams per day) is required for the healthy functioning of the body systems. A potassium-rich diet decreases the risk of stroke, lowers blood pressure, reduces the risk of kidney stones. Potassium is usually found in many fruits like bananas, grapes, papayas, avocadoes, whole, unprocessed foods, such as fresh leafy greens, tomatoes, potatoes, and beans.
Potassium plays an important role in the following body functions
- Maintenance of salt and water balance in the body: The body is made of 60% water. 40% of the water is present inside cells - intracellular fluid (ICF). The rest of the water is present outside the cells in the extracellular space and between cells. This fluid is also called extracellular fluid (ECF). The balance between the fluid inside and outside the cells is necessary to maintain the cell shape. This is regulated by potassium and sodium. Potassium is the main electrolyte in the cells, sodium is the main electrolyte in the extracellular space. An imbalance in the electrolyte levels causes the cells to shrink or swell and burst. This can result in organ damage.
- Maintenance of the nervous system and muscles: The nervous system relays messages between your brain and body via the nerves. The function of nerves and muscles is dependent on potassium and calcium ions. In case of potassium deficiency, the nerves supplying the limbs may not function, causing paralysis-like symptoms.
- Regulation of muscle contractions including the heart: The nervous system to controls the muscle contractions. Nerve signals are generated when sodium enters the cells while potassium exit the cells. Both low and high potassium levels can affect nerve signals creating irregular heart rhythm (arrhythmia) that can be life-threatening. The muscles of the gut are also affected when potassium levels are low, causing ballooning of the intestines.
Health benefits of potassium
Consuming a potassium-rich diet is linked to many impressive health benefits.
- Reduction of blood pressure: By eliminating excess sodium (excess sodium increases blood pressure)
- Reduced the risk of stroke
- Prevention of Osteoporosis: osteoporosis is a condition where the bone is porous and easily fractures due to low calcium levels. Potassium reduces the elimination of excess calcium in the body.
- Prevention of Kidney Stones: potassium helps lower calcium levels in the urine.
- Reduction of fluid Retention: Potassium can reduce fluid retention in the body by increasing urine production.
What are the signs and symptoms of hypokalemia?
What are the signs and symptoms of hyperkalemia?
High levels of potassium (hyperkalemia) can produce the following signs and symptoms:
Top What Does Potassium Do for Your Body? Related Articles
ammonium chlorideAmmonium chloride is an acidifying agent administered intravenously to treat metabolic alkalosis and low chloride levels (hypochloremia). Do not take ammonium chloride if you have impaired liver or kidney function. Common side effects of ammonium chloride include metabolic acidosis, ammonia toxicity symptoms, rapid breathing (hyperventilation), EEG abnormalities, involuntary muscle contractions due to electrolyte imbalance (calcium-deficient tetany), seizure, mental confusion, drowsiness, injection site reactions, rash, low blood potassium levels (hypokalemia), high blood chloride levels (hyperchloremia), abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting. Consult your doctor if pregnant or breastfeeding.
Common Medical Abbreviations & Terms
Doctors, pharmacists, and other health-care professionals use abbreviations, acronyms, and other terminology for instructions and information in regard to a patient's health condition, prescription drugs they are to take, or medical procedures that have been ordered. There is no approved this list of common medical abbreviations, acronyms, and terminology used by doctors and other health- care professionals. You can use this list of medical abbreviations and acronyms written by our doctors the next time you can't understand what is on your prescription package, blood test results, or medical procedure orders. Examples include:
- ANED: Alive no evidence of disease. The patient arrived in the ER alive with no evidence of disease.
- ARF: Acute renal (kidney) failure
- cap: Capsule.
- CPAP: Continuous positive airway pressure. A treatment for sleep apnea.
- DJD: Degenerative joint disease. Another term for osteoarthritis.
- DM: Diabetes mellitus. Type 1 and type 2 diabetes
- HA: Headache
- IBD: Inflammatory bowel disease. A name for two disorders of the gastrointestinal (BI) tract, Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis
- JT: Joint
- N/V: Nausea or vomiting.
- p.o.: By mouth. From the Latin terminology per os.
- q.i.d.: Four times daily. As in taking a medicine four times daily.
- RA: Rheumatoid arthritis
- SOB: Shortness of breath.
- T: Temperature. Temperature is recorded as part of the physical examination. It is one of the "vital signs."
Why You Need Potassium and How to Get ItPotassium-rich foods like bananas, potatoes, prunes, oranges, tomatoes, lima beans, and sunflower seeds help your nerves, muscles, and bones. Potassium reduces the risk of high blood pressure and stroke. Low potassium (hypokalemia) and high potassium (hyperkalemia) can cause issues.
Potassium FoodsIt turns out lots of things have more potassium than a banana! Here's a guide to the tastiest choices.
High Potassium (Hyperkalemia)Hyperkalemia is an abnormally high level of potassium in the blood. Hyperkalemia symptoms include nausea, fatigue, tingling sensations, or muscle weakness. Hyperkalemia may also cause no symptoms. Hyperkalemia treatment may include a low-potassium diet, medications, and intravenous glucose and insulin. Causes of hyperkalemia include kidney dysfunction, certain medications, adrenal gland diseases, and potassium shifts.
Is Coffee High in Potassium?Potassium is an essential micronutrient required for cellular function. It is highly reactive in water and produces positively charged potassium ions.
Low Potassium (Hypokalemia)
Potassium is an essential electrolyte necessary for cell function. Low potassium (hypokalemia) may be caused by diarrhea, vomiting, ileostomy, colon polyps, laxative use, diuretics, elevated corticosteroid levels, renal artery stenosis, and renal tubular acidosis, or other medications. Symptoms of low potassium include weakness, aches, and cramps of the muscles. Treatment is dependent upon the cause of the low potassium (hypokalemia).
penicillin V potassium (Beepen-VK, V-Cillin-K)Penicillin V potassium (Beepen-VK, Penicillin VK, V-Cillin-K) is an antibiotic prescribed to treat a variety of infections such as the respiratory tract, middle ear, skin, sinuses, and soft tissues. Penicillin V potassium also is prescribed to prevent rheumatic fever. Side effects, drug interactions, patient safety, storage, and dosage information should be reviewed prior to taking this medication.
potassium chloride (K-Dur, K-Lor, K-Tab, Kaon CL)Potassium chloride (K-Dur, KLor Con, K-Tab) is a preparation used to treat low potassium (hypokylemia) in the blood. Side effects, drug interactions, and pregnancy safety information should be reviewed prior to taking this medication.
potassium iodidePotassium iodide is used to protect the thyroid from radiation injury. Side effects, drug interactions, dosage, storage, and pregnancy safety information should be reviewed prior to taking this medication.
potassium chloride; K-Dur, KLor Con, K-Tab, Kaon CL, Klorvess, Slow-K, Ten-K, Klotrix, K-Lyte CLPotassium chloride (KLor Con, K-Tab, Kaon CL, Klorvess, Slow-K, Ten-K, Klotrix, K-Lyte CL) is a supplement used to treat low blood levels of potassium, a condition called hypokalemia. Learn about the side effects, dosage, and pregnancy safety information for potassium chloride.
What Can Happen if Your Potassium Level Is Too Low?A low blood potassium level is medically known as hypokalemia. A blood test is sufficient to confirm its diagnosis.
What Drinks Are High in Potassium?Potassium is one of the essential minerals required by your body for its smooth functioning. Like sodium and chloride, potassium is an electrolyte serving several roles including: Aids proper nerve functioning Helps muscle contraction and relaxation
What Foods Are the Highest in Potassium?Potassium is a mineral that controls the amount of fluid inside the cells. Foods highest in potassium include dried fruits, lentils and other legumes, potatoes, spinach, and bananas.
What Can I Eat To Lower My Blood Pressure Immediately?Learn what you can eat to lower your blood pressure to a more healthy level and help you manage hypertension.
Which Fruits Are High in Potassium?Potassium is an important mineral that plays a vital role in the body. Fruits that are high in potassium include bananas, cantaloupe, oranges, avocados, grapefruit, apricots, honeydew, guava and kiwi.