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Low Potassium And Diabetes

Low Levels Of Potassium Linked To Increased Diabetes Risk

Low Levels Of Potassium Linked To Increased Diabetes Risk

Three recent studies show that even low-normal potassium scores on a blood test are associated with significant increased risk for type 2 diabetes. This risk applies to anyone and is especially elevated in African Americans who consume less dietary potassium and in individuals taking diuretic medication for blood pressure control. The first study1 involves 12,209 participants followed for 9 years. On a lab test the number range for healthy is 3.5 – 5.5. The researchers compared those with scores lower than 4, scores 4 – 4.5, and scores 4.5 – 5 to those with scores in the high end of the normal range (5 – 5.5). They found a 64% increased risk in the 4 and below group as well as in the 4 – 4.5 group. Surprisingly, they even found a 39% increased risk in people with scores in the 4.5 – 5 group. The second study2 was a subset of data by researchers in the first study, comparing African Americans to whites. The results for whites was similar to the above, whereas African Americans with scores of 4 or less had a 126% increased risk, a score of 4 – 4.5 was a 97% increased risk, and a score of 4.5 – 5 was a 85% increased risk. The data shows that African Americans are especially susceptible to a lack of potassium contributing to type 2 diabetes. The third study3 followed 4,409 Japanese men for 4 years. Those with potassium below 4 had a 57% increased risk. For each .5 lower score in potassium at the start of the study was associated with a 45% increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes over the four year study period. It is believed that potassium influences the release of insulin from the pancreas so it could be said that low potassium contributes to pancreatic stress and future insulin resistance leading to type 2 diabetes.The relationship of adiponectin to Continue reading >>

Increased Potassium Intake Counteracts Hypertension And Diabetes

Increased Potassium Intake Counteracts Hypertension And Diabetes

There is widespread potassium deficiency, and it is common knowledge that an increased potassium intake lowers the risk of hypertension, which is the leading cause of stroke, cardiovascular disease, and early death. However, not many people know that potassium has a vital impact on blood sugar levels and the prevention of diabetes, just as it counteracts side effects of diuretics. The question is how much potassium do we need – and how does the balance between potassium and sodium (salt) affect our health? Of all minerals, potassium is the one that we need in the largest quantities. 98 percent of our potassium is inside our cells. Potassium and sodium, which is mainly found outside of the cells, work in close collaboration. The potassium-sodium ratio is vital for the electrolyte balance of cells. Put differently, the balance between potassium and sodium ions creates an electric potential difference across the cell membrane (membrane potential) that is determining for cells and their ability to absorb nutrients, get rid of waste products, and maintain essential fluid balances. Potassium is essential to all cells, especially those responsible for nerve transmissions that control muscles, the heart, intestinal peristalsis, insulin sensitivity, and blood sugar levels. Our kidneys control the body’s potassium levels that must always be in proper balance with sodium. Too much potassium compared with sodium causes potassium depletion and disturbs the electrolyte balance and many other functions that depend on potassium. Potassium deficiencies are widespread Seaweed, beans, potatoes, almonds, apples, bananas, and other types of fruit and vegetables are rich in potassium. However, our modern, refined diets that consists mainly of grain, meat and dairy products and far fewer Continue reading >>

What To Eat On A Low-potassium Diet

What To Eat On A Low-potassium Diet

Q: My husband's potassium level is high. What foods should he avoid? A: Your husband's potassium level in his blood may be high for several reasons. It could be due to a heart or kidney problem, or it could be due to a type of blood pressure medication he takes, among other things. If he has this high potassium evaluated and his health-care provider encourages him to limit his potassium from foods, be aware that the following are high in potassium: It's important to monitor his blood potassium level as recommended by your physician and to adjust your meal plan to include more foods lower in potassium. Ask his doctor or registered dietitian for a list of high- and low-potassium foods. Madhu Gadia, M.S., R.D., is a certified diabetes educator. Continue reading >>

Insulin And Potassium

Insulin And Potassium

Insulin has a number of actions on the body besides lowering your blood glucose levels. Insulin suppresses the breakdown and buildup of glycogen, which is the storage form of glucose, it blocks fat metabolism and the release of fatty acids, and it puts potassium into the cells by activating the sodium-potassium cellular channels. Insulin stimulates the uptake of glucose and potassium in all cells of the body but primarily fuels the muscle cells as well as some of the fat cells. In type 2 diabetes or metabolic syndrome (a form of metabolic disease), insulin is not functioning up to its normal level. The cells of the body become resistant to insulin and the blood sugar levels are elevated. The serum potassium (K+) level is a reflection of the total body stores of potassium, although it can be inaccurate in some conditions that affect the distribution of potassium in the body’s cells. The plasma potassium level determines the resting potential of the cells of the body. A person can have low potassium (hypokalemia) or high potassium (hyperkalemia), both of which are asymptomatic conditions that can be serious as they both cause heart arrhythmias. The Relationship between Insulin and Potassium Shortly after insulin was discovered, scientists revealed that insulin had something to do with the potassium levels in both the cells and in the blood. The insulin is the hormone in the body that keeps the potassium level in the blood within the normal range. When insulin is decreased, the potassium level rises and can rise even further if you eat something high in potassium, such as salt substitutes and bananas. When the potassium level is high, it causes the pancreas to release insulin in order to counteract the effects of high potassium levels. When you eat something that is high Continue reading >>

What Kinds Of Foods Should I Eat To Bring Up My Potassium Level?

What Kinds Of Foods Should I Eat To Bring Up My Potassium Level?

Q: I had blood work done recently before having surgery. I was told that my potassium level is low. What kinds of foods should I eat to bring up my level, without raising my blood sugar level? I have type 2 diabetes. Potassium levels must be maintained within a very narrow range. Too little potassium or too much potassium can both cause problems. Many people think of bananas, potatoes, and other high-sugar and high-carb foods as being the best sources of potassium. However, there are several low-carb foods that are rich in this mineral. Choosing from this list can help you boost your potassium level without increasing your blood sugar: Avocado Nuts, especially almonds and pistachios Cooked leafy greens, such as spinach and kale Fish, especially flounder, halibut, salmon, trout, and sardines Shellfish, especially scallops Plain Greek yogurt Cooked mushrooms Answered By dLife Expert: Franziska Spritzler, RD, CDE Certified diabetes educator and registered dietitian living in Southern California. Disclaimer The content of this website, such as text, graphics, images, and other material on the site (collectively, “Content”) are for informational purposes only. The Content is not intended to be a substitute for, and dLife does not provide, professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately. dLife does not recommend or endorse any specific tests, physicians, products, procedures, opinions, or other information that may be mentioned on this Continue reading >>

Hyperkalemia (high Blood Potassium)

Hyperkalemia (high Blood Potassium)

How does hyperkalemia affect the body? Potassium is critical for the normal functioning of the muscles, heart, and nerves. It plays an important role in controlling activity of smooth muscle (such as the muscle found in the digestive tract) and skeletal muscle (muscles of the extremities and torso), as well as the muscles of the heart. It is also important for normal transmission of electrical signals throughout the nervous system within the body. Normal blood levels of potassium are critical for maintaining normal heart electrical rhythm. Both low blood potassium levels (hypokalemia) and high blood potassium levels (hyperkalemia) can lead to abnormal heart rhythms. The most important clinical effect of hyperkalemia is related to electrical rhythm of the heart. While mild hyperkalemia probably has a limited effect on the heart, moderate hyperkalemia can produce EKG changes (EKG is a reading of theelectrical activity of the heart muscles), and severe hyperkalemia can cause suppression of electrical activity of the heart and can cause the heart to stop beating. Another important effect of hyperkalemia is interference with functioning of the skeletal muscles. Hyperkalemic periodic paralysis is a rare inherited disorder in which patients can develop sudden onset of hyperkalemia which in turn causes muscle paralysis. The reason for the muscle paralysis is not clearly understood, but it is probably due to hyperkalemia suppressing the electrical activity of the muscle. Common electrolytes that are measured by doctors with blood testing include sodium, potassium, chloride, and bicarbonate. The functions and normal range values for these electrolytes are described below. Hypokalemia, or decreased potassium, can arise due to kidney diseases; excessive losses due to heavy sweating Continue reading >>

Diabetic Ketoacidosis

Diabetic Ketoacidosis

Print Overview Diabetic ketoacidosis is a serious complication of diabetes that occurs when your body produces high levels of blood acids called ketones. The condition develops when your body can't produce enough insulin. Insulin normally plays a key role in helping sugar (glucose) — a major source of energy for your muscles and other tissues — enter your cells. Without enough insulin, your body begins to break down fat as fuel. This process produces a buildup of acids in the bloodstream called ketones, eventually leading to diabetic ketoacidosis if untreated. If you have diabetes or you're at risk of diabetes, learn the warning signs of diabetic ketoacidosis — and know when to seek emergency care. Symptoms Diabetic ketoacidosis signs and symptoms often develop quickly, sometimes within 24 hours. For some, these signs and symptoms may be the first indication of having diabetes. You may notice: Excessive thirst Frequent urination Nausea and vomiting Abdominal pain Weakness or fatigue Shortness of breath Fruity-scented breath Confusion More-specific signs of diabetic ketoacidosis — which can be detected through home blood and urine testing kits — include: High blood sugar level (hyperglycemia) High ketone levels in your urine When to see a doctor If you feel ill or stressed or you've had a recent illness or injury, check your blood sugar level often. You might also try an over-the-counter urine ketones testing kit. Contact your doctor immediately if: You're vomiting and unable to tolerate food or liquid Your blood sugar level is higher than your target range and doesn't respond to home treatment Your urine ketone level is moderate or high Seek emergency care if: Your blood sugar level is consistently higher than 300 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL), or 16.7 mill Continue reading >>

Potassium And Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes

Potassium And Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes

Go to: Potassium in humans Potassium is the main intracellular cation in the human body and is required for vital cellular processes. Serum and dietary potassium are measurements that can affect total body stores of potassium, which can only be accurately measured using whole body counters with radioactively labeled potassium. Serum potassium is tightly controlled through homeostatic mechanisms and is affected by many factors including dietary potassium intake, potassium excretion (which is primarily in the urine) and by factors that affect potassium excretion and partitioning between intracellular and extracellular spaces. The primary determinants of renal excretion of potassium include sodium delivery to the distal nephron and urine flow, the renin–angiotensin–aldosterone system, vasopressin levels and acid–base status. Hormones and chemicals such as insulin, catecholamines and thyroid hormone affect intra- versus extra-cellular partitioning of potassium, as well as acid–base status [15]. Dietary and serum potassium are not necessarily correlated given the tight control of serum potassium levels, and serum potassium does not necessarily reflect total body potassium stores, as subtle changes, even within the normal laboratory reference range, can occur with significant total body potassium depletion [16]. Adequate potassium intake, according to the US Panel on Dietary Reference Intake is 4.7 g (120 mmol)/day for adults, based on the assessment of the health benefits of potassium at this level on blood pressure, bone density and risk of kidney stones [16]. In general, dietary intake of potassium, at least in the USA and Canada, has been found to be much lower than this recommended value [16]. Further discussion regarding the different measurement tools for dieta Continue reading >>

Hypokalemia & Diabetes

Hypokalemia & Diabetes

According to a 2011 national diabetes fact sheet from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 25 million people, or 8.3 percent of the United States population, have diabetes. Diabetes is the condition that results from the lack of insulin production or from insulin resistance; in diabetes, there is abnormal metabolism of glucose, which results in elevated blood glucose levels. Diabetes is associated with dysregulation of potassium, but several studies suggest that hypokalemia may mediate the development of diabetes. Video of the Day According to "Davidson's Principles & Practice of Medicine," hypokalemia, or low blood potassium, is defined as blood potassium levels below 3.5 millimoles per liter, or mmol/L, of blood. Potassium facilitates the function of insulin in the delivery of glucose to cells; when insulin binds to its receptors on the cell membrane, it causes potassium to flow into the cells. As levels of insulin increase in the blood, more potassium is driven into cells; therefore, hyperinsulinemia, or high blood insulin, is commonly associated with hypokalemia. Hypokalemia and Diabetes Studies Since a clear relationship exists between insulin and potassium, researchers have speculated the possibility of potassium's involvement in the development of diabetes. According to a 2008 article in the journal "Hypertension," several studies have collectively demonstrated a strong inverse relationship between blood glucose levels and potassium levels during the use of thiazides diuretics; therefore, as potassium levels decrease, blood glucose levels should increase. This inverse relationship between glucose and potassium, concurs with the notion that total body potassium has a role in determining person's sensitivity to insulin. In diabetics, excessive use o Continue reading >>

Diabetes & Potassium

Diabetes & Potassium

Potassium is an important electrolyte with major effects in diabetes. Whether too much or too little potassium is circulating in your blood can affect your chances of developing diabetes and your risk of complications if you already have the disease. If you don’t have diabetes, eating a balanced, potassium-rich diet may help prevent it. If your diabetes is poorly controlled, however, you may have too much potassium in your blood and need to reduce your intake. It’s important to keep tabs on your potassium levels by regularly consulting your health care provider. Video of the Day Diabetes in the United States Diabetes is a group of serious metabolic disorders affecting more than 25 million people in the United States. Diabetic patients have too much blood sugar, caused by problems with the hormone insulin. Insulin is created by your pancreas, and its job is to unlock your cells so blood sugar can get into them and supply energy for all of your body processes. However, diabetics do not produce enough insulin, or they have a problem with the signaling process that determines how insulin works. As a result, a buildup of glucose in the blood occurs, while cells starve from a lack of their natural food source. Potassium's Role in the Body Potassium is a mineral and important electrolyte. Electrolytes, which include salt and other minerals, help control your body’s balance of fluids inside and outside of cells and are vital to processes such as muscle contractions, energy generation and many other biochemical reactions. With your cells and kidneys as controllers, your body keeps close tabs on what you eat and what you eliminate to keep the right balance of potassium. Most Americans consume somewhere between 2,000 and 6,000 milligrams of potassium each day through their d Continue reading >>

Low Potassium (hypokalemia)

Low Potassium (hypokalemia)

Potassium is one of the primary electrolytes (crucial chemicals for cell function), and is concentrated within the cells of the body. Only 2% of the body's total potassium is available in the serum or blood stream. Small changes in the serum levels of potassium can affect body function. One of the more important functions of potassium is to maintain the electrical activity of the cells in the body. Cells with high electrical activity (for example, nerves and muscles, including the heart) are particularly affected when potassium levels fall. Normal serum potassium levels range from 3.5 to 5.0 mEq/liter in the blood. Normal daily intake of potassium is 70-100 mEq (270 to 390 mg/dl), and requires the kidneys to remove that same amount each day. If more is removed, the body's total potassium store will be decreased, and the result is hypokalemia (hypo=low + kal=potassium +emia= in the blood) occurs. Potassium enters the body through dietary intake. Examples of potassium rich foods include: Fresh fruits: bananas, cantaloupe, oranges, strawberries, kiwi, avocados, apricots Fresh vegetables: greens, mushrooms, peas, beets, tomatoes Meats: beef, fish, turkey, Juices: Orange, prune, apricot, grapefruit What are the causes of low potassium (hypokalemia)? Hypokalemia is not commonly caused by poor dietary intake. The most common reason that potassium levels fall is due to the loss from the gastrointestinal (GI) tract and the kidney. Potassium loss from the GI tract may be caused by: Ileostomy: In some patients who have had bowel surgery and have an ileostomy, the stool output can contain significant amounts of potassium. Villous adenoma (a type of colon polyp that can cause the colon to leak potassium) Causes of potassium loss from the kidney: Diuretic medications (water pills) li Continue reading >>

Magnesium, Calcium, Potassium And Diabetes

Magnesium, Calcium, Potassium And Diabetes

When it comes to minerals such as magnesium, calcium and potassium, people with diabetes may get too much of a good thing. While these minerals benefit your body in some ways, in others they are related to diabetes. Learn how these well-known minerals may have an impact on diabetes and other related health issues. Often referred to as one of the building blocks to life, magnesium is transported from your blood into your cells by insulin. When you have a magnesium deficiency, you may develop insulin resistance. This can be a precursor to conditions such as diabetes or heart disease. Insulin regulates the entry of sugar into the cells to create energy. A diet that includes the right amount of magnesium can help reduce your risk of developing these health conditions. The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for magnesium for adult men is 410 to 420 mg/d and 310 to 320 mg/d for women, depending on your age. Recent studies show magnesium levels tend to be lower in people with diabetes. Other conditions linked to magnesium deficiency include cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and ketoacidosis as well as calcium deficiency and potassium deficiency. Certain diabetes medications can raise magnesium levels, such as Pioglitazone and Metformin. Include foods in your diet that have plenty of magnesium, such as almonds, whole grains and spinach. Your doctor may recommend taking magnesium supplements to help improve your insulin sensitivity and reduce your blood pressure. Always consult with your physician before taking magnesium supplements. Too much magnesium can lead to toxicity. Symptoms include nausea, muscle weakness, hypotension, irregular heartbeat and urine retention. Your doctor may decide to measure your serum magnesium levels. Potassium is frequently called an electrolyte Continue reading >>

The Power Of Potassium

The Power Of Potassium

We’ve talked about several different minerals in past blog entries. Potassium is the mineral of choice for this week’s post for several reasons, and it’s a mineral that people with kidney problems should be sure to pay close attention to. What potassium does in the body First, let’s explore what potassium does in the body. This mineral is often referred to as an “electrolyte.” Electrolytes are electrically charged particles, called ions, which our cells use to maintain voltage across our cell membranes and carry electrical impulses, such as nerve impulses, to other cells. (Bet you didn’t think you had all this electrical activity in your body, did you?) Some of the main electrolytes in our bodies, besides potassium, are sodium, chloride, calcium, and magnesium. Your kidneys help regulate the amount of electrolytes in the body. Potassium’s job is to help nerve conduction, help regulate your heartbeat, and help your muscles contract. It also works to maintain proper fluid balance between your cells and body fluids. The body is a fine-tuned machine in that, as long as it’s healthy and functioning properly, things will work as they should. This means that, as long as your kidneys are working up to par, they’ll regulate the amount of potassium that your body needs. However, people with diabetes who have kidney disease need to be especially careful of their potassium intake, as levels can get too high in the body when the kidneys don’t work as they should. Too much potassium is just as dangerous as too little. Your physician can measure the amount of potassium in your blood with a simple blood test. A normal, or “safe” level of potassium is between 3.7 and 5.2 milliequivalents per liter (mEq/L). Levels below or above this range are a cause for concer Continue reading >>

What Is The Connection Between Diabetes And Potassium?

What Is The Connection Between Diabetes And Potassium?

Usually, your body processes the food you eat and turns it into a sugar called glucose. Your body uses glucose for energy. Insulin is a hormone your pancreas produces. Your body uses the insulin to help move glucose into cells throughout your body. If you have diabetes, your body is unable to produce or use insulin efficiently. Type 1 diabetes isn’t preventable, but you can prevent type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes, or adult-onset diabetes, usually occurs in people ages 35 and older. Potassium is an electrolyte and mineral that helps keep your bodily fluids at the proper level. Your body can do the following if your fluids are in check: contract your muscles without pain keep your heart beating correctly keep your brain functioning at its highest capability If you don’t maintain the right level of potassium, you can experience a variety of symptom that include simple muscle cramps to more serious conditions, such as seizures. According to recent research, there may be a link between type 2 diabetes and low potassium levels. Although people recognize that potassium affects diabetes, research is ongoing to determine why this may happen. Researchers in one study at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine linked low levels of potassium with high levels of insulin and glucose in people who were otherwise healthy. Low levels of potassium with high levels of insulin and glucose are both traits doctors associate with diabetes. One 2011 study found that people taking thiazides to treat high blood pressure experienced a loss of electrolytes, such as potassium. Researchers noted that this loss might increase a person’s risk of developing diabetes. And along with that, researchers have also linked potassium levels to high blood pressure. Even though low potassium may incre Continue reading >>

Potassium-rich Diets Could Protect Diabetic Patients' Kidneys

Potassium-rich Diets Could Protect Diabetic Patients' Kidneys

Diabetes patients are at risk for a wide variety of negative health outcomes during the progression of their disease. One such area of concern is kidney function. New research hopes to spark further investigation into ways to tackle these disorders with dietary potassium. Diabetes is a growing problem. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate there are 29.1 million diabetics in America. Worryingly, the CDC also predict that this number will double or triple over the next few decades. If that forecast is correct, between 1 in 3 and 1 in 5 Americans may be diabetic by 2050. Although obesity is known to be a major factor, the search is on for other dietary risk factors that might be easier to correct. Controlling diet in diabetes is an essential part of the treatment plan, and low-sodium and reduced-calorie diets are the most commonly recommended. The standard diet that clinicians advise for diabetics is essentially a healthy, well-balanced diet with an extra focus on reducing salt. Renal and cardiovascular problems in diabetes Type 2 diabetes significantly increases an individual's chance of end-stage renal disease (ESRD) and cardiovascular disease (CVD). Hyperglycemia (excess blood glucose), hypertension (high blood pressure) and dyslipidemia (excess lipids in the blood) are well-known risk factors for both ESRD and CVD. In the general population, potassium is recognized as a means to prevent hypertension and stroke. However, its effects on ESRD and CVD onset are not well investigated, especially within a diabetic population with healthy cardiovascular and kidney function. The role of potassium Potassium is a vital mineral involved in the normal functioning of all the cells, tissues and organs of the body. Along with sodium, chloride, calcium and magn Continue reading >>

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