What does potassium do in your body?
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
- Helps maintain a regular heartbeat
- Helps regulate blood pressure
- Helps the cells communicate with each other through electrical signals
- Helps move nutrients inside the cells and waste products out of cells
Some of the rich sources of potassium in the diet are as follows:
- Green leafy vegetables including spinach, mustard greens, and collard greens
- Potatoes and sweet potatoes
- Fruits such as grapes, oranges, apricots, grapefruits, and cantaloupe
- Dried fruits such as prunes, dates, and resins
- Certain fish such as tuna, halibut, and cod
Your normal blood potassium levels are maintained between 3.6 and 5.2 mmol/L. Values below or above this range can cause harm to your body.
The recommended daily intake of potassium for people in various age groups is given below:
|Birth to 6 months||400 mg||400 mg|
|7-12 months||860 mg||860 mg|
|1-3 years||2,000 mg||2,000 mg|
|4-8 years||2,300 mg||
|14-18 years||3,000 mg||2,300 mg||2,600 mg||2,500 mg|
|19-50 years||3,400 mg||2,600 mg||2,900 mg||2,800 mg|
|51+ years||3.400 mg||2,600 mg|
The recommended intake may be lower in situations that may cause an increased potassium level in the body such as kidney diseases and certain medications that interfere with potassium removal from the body.
What drinks are high in potassium?
Some of the potassium-rich drinks are as follows:
|Name of the drink||Serving size||Amount of potassium per serving (in mg)|
|Orange juice||1 cup||496|
|Tomato juice||1 cup||556.5|
|Prune juice||1 cup||707|
|Apricot juice||1 cup||286.1|
|Grapefruit juice||1 cup||400.1|
|Carrot juice||1 cup||689|
Besides these, other drinks such as sports drinks, herbal supplements, chocolate milk, vegetable cocktail juice, and spinach juice also provide a lot of potassium. Alcoholic drinks can also increase your blood potassium levels by causing cell damage and hampering kidney function.
What are the signs of low potassium levels in your body?
Low potassium levels or hypokalemia can harm you in several ways.
A mild decrease in potassium may cause no noticeable symptoms. Some of the symptoms of hypokalemia are as follows:
- Muscle cramps
- Muscle twitching
- Aches and stiffness
- Mood changes
- Breathing difficulties
- Numbness or tingling
Potassium levels less than 2.5 mml/L can cause life-threatening complications and require urgent medical intervention. Very low potassium levels can even cause lightheadedness and fainting. If you are on medications such as water pills (diuretics) or antibiotics; or if you experience profuse sweating, diarrhea, or vomiting; or if you have health conditions such as kidney diseases or eating disorders, you may be at risk of low potassium levels in your body.
What are the signs of high potassium levels in your body?
Excess of potassium in the blood is called hyperkalemia. In a healthy individual, the kidneys maintain potassium levels by removing extra potassium from the body through the urine. In some conditions, however, this regulation may fail or become insufficient. These include kidney diseases, certain medications such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and blood pressure medications. If people with advanced kidney disease consume a high-potassium diet or potassium-rich salt substitutes (also called the lite salts), they can develop hyperkalemia. The symptoms of hyperkalemia include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Nausea and vomiting
- Chest pain
- Palpitations/irregular heartbeat
The symptoms of hyperkalemia require urgent medical attention because they can cause serious complications when ignored.
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Top What Drinks Are High in Potassium? 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).
potassium bicarbonatePotassium bicarbonate is a medication used as supplemental potassium to treat and prevent low blood potassium levels (hypokalemia). Common side effects of potassium bicarbonate include abdominal discomfort, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, gas (flatulence), and hyperkalemia. Consult your doctor if pregnant or breastfeeding.
sodium bicarbonateSodium bicarbonate is a chemical compound made of sodium and bicarbonate used to increase the alkalinity of the body. Intravenous sodium bicarbonate is also used as an antidote for metabolic acidosis due to toxicity from many drugs. Oral sodium bicarbonate is an antacid used to temporarily relieve symptoms of acid indigestion, heartburn, and upset stomach. Common side effects of sodium bicarbonate include excessive alkalinity (metabolic alkalosis), high sodium levels in blood (hyponatremia), low potassium levels (hypokalemia), low calcium levels (hypocalcemia), cerebral hemorrhage, increased acid level in the brain tissue (intracranial acidosis), exacerbation of congestive heart failure (CHF), swelling (edema), and others. Consult your doctor if pregnant or breastfeeding.
Veltassa (patiromer)Veltassa is indicated for the treatment of hyperkalemia, or high levels of potassium. High levels of potassium usually are caused by kidney or adrenal gland malfunctions and may cause nausea, fatigue, weakness, and slow heartbeat. Veltassa works in the colon by binding with potassium from your food and preventing your body from absorbing it.
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 Does Potassium Do for Your Body?Your body needs potassium to help your nerves, heart, and muscles function correctly. But high potassium levels can lead to health problems.
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.
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.