Take Heart with Potassium

Take heart with potassium… . In order to live, you need minerals. Not just any mineral — eating dirt won’t be helpful, but everyone needs those major and trace minerals required for basic life functions. This article will take an in-depth look at the major mineral, potassium.

Heart Health: Potassium and Sodium

Potassium and sodium share many of the same life functions, namely transmission of nerve impulses and fluid balance, but in different locations. Where sodium operates outside the cell, potassium operates inside. Fluids found inside the cell (intracellular fluids) contain most of the potassium found in the body — 95%.

Your Blood Pressure: What’s Healthy – What’s Not

Additionally, where sodium intake increases blood pressure, potassium lowers blood pressure. Potassium is a critical element for cardiovascular function. (1) (2)

A person who has low blood potassium is in a life-threatening situation. Often, symptoms include:

  • muscle cramps,
  • loss of appetite,
  • constipation, and
  • confusion.

Eventually the heart will beat irregularly, thus decreasing its ability to pump blood. (1) (2)

Potassium Needs:
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Whole Grains – Mineral Rich

Adults need to consume 4700 milligrams (4.7 grams) per day in order to fulfill the Adequate Intake for potassium requirements. The food and supplement labels use the Daily Value based on 3500 milligrams. Although approximately 90% of the potassium we eat is absorbed, the average North American only consumes 2000 to 3000 milligrams of potassium per day. Most need to increase their intake. (3) (4)

Where sodium is often added to foods, potassium is not, contributing to a lower intake. Also, those with high blood pressure being treated with diuretics are at risk of depleting their body’s potassium stores. Therefore, people who take diuretics waste their body’s potassium and must carefully monitor their intake of this mineral. Foods high in potassium are healthy additions to their diets. (3) (4)

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Take Heart with Potassium – The Role of Your Kidneys

No Upper Level for potassium is set since potassium toxicity is not a risk with typical food intakes as long as the kidneys function properly. Those with unhealthy kidney function, however, are at risk for the build up of potassium in the blood. This prevents the heart from functioning and slows the heartbeat. If left untreated, it results in death. (3)

Potassium Sources:

The most healthy way to meet your potassium requirements is by increasing the consumption of foods rich in potassium. Unprocessed foods are generally rich sources of potassium, including vegetables, fruits, whole grains, milk, meats, and dried beans. (4) (5)

What’s your favorite potassium rich food? Do you have a recipe to share?

References:

1. https://www.cdc.gov/salt/index.htm
2. https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2011/p0711_sodiumpotassiumdiet.html
3. https://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/dietary-reference-intakes
4. https://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/
5. https://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/appendix-10/

Blood Pressure: What’s Healthy – What’s Not

This article, “Blood Pressure: What’s Healthy- What’s Not” is the first in a three part series. One out of every five adults in North America live with high blood pressure, also known as hypertension. After the age of 65, this number increases significantly to one out of every two adults. Since it often goes undetected, hypertension is commonly referred to as the silent killer.

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Your Blood Pressure: What’s Healthy – What’s Not
Blood Pressure

Two numbers convey a person’s blood pressure:

  • the systolic (higher number) blood pressure and
  • diastolic (lower number) blood pressure.

The systolic blood pressure denote the arterial pressure as the heart muscle contracts and then pumps blood through the arteries. Optimally, it should be at 120 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) or less. The diastolic blood pressure is the pressure within the artery when the heart is in a relaxed state. It should optimally be at or less than 80 mm Hg. The elevation in both of these numbers are strong

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Blood Pressure Systolic/Diastolic

indicators of disease. (1) (2)

 

Hypertension

By definition, hypertension is when the systolic blood pressure exceeds 139 mm Hg or the diastolic blood pressure exceeds 89 mm Hg for extended periods.

Primary or essential hypertension has no clearly defined cause and occurs in 95% of the cases. Secondary hypertension occurs in the remaining 5% of the cases and

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Blood Pressure: What’s Healthy – What’s Not Hypertension: The Silent Killer

is often caused by sleep apnea (sleep-disordered breathing) and kidney disease. (1) (2)
Typically there are no symptoms of hypertension. To assure it does not go undetected, it is important to check it on a regular basis.

Importance of Controlling Blood Pressure

It is essential to control blood pressure to primarily prevent strokes and related diminished brain function, cardiovascular disease, poor circulation of blood in the legs, vision problems, and sudden death. People with hypertension are much more likely to suffer from these disorders than those with normal blood pressure levels. Additionally, smoking and elevated lipoproteins also significantly increases the risk for these diseases. Early diagnosis of hypertension is important. If the condition continues unchecked over a long period of time, typically it resists therapy and with time will advance to a more serious stage. (4)

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Your Health Matters – Avoid the Silent Killer
Control Your Blood Pressure

Hypertension is a disorder that cannot be overlooked. In order to maintain a healthy lifestyle and decrease your risk of these life-threatening diseases, there are a number of preventive measures that can be taken. As the next two articles in the series will show, lifestyle changes and critical minerals are important to the function and maintenance of the heart and circulatory system.

References

https://www.cdc.gov/dhdsp/data_statistics/fact_sheets/fs_bloodpressure.htm
https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/hbp
http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HighBloodPressure/UnderstandSymptomsRisks/Why-High-Blood-Pressure-is-a-Silent-Killer_UCM_002053_Article.jsp
https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/hbp/atrisk