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Understanding The Effects Of Potassium On Your Diabetes

Understanding the effects of potassium on your Diabetes is important because it’s a mineral that is essential for the body to work normally.

If you haven’t met with a Registered Dietician or Certified Diabetes Educator, chances are you’re not aware of how it works, and what to do to prevent complications of having too much or too little.

 Potassium plays a role in the movement of nutrients and wastes into and out of cells.

 ➡ It also helps support a healthy balance of water in your body.

When your fluid levels are correct, your body can:

 ➡ Contract your muscles without pain

 ➡ Keep your heart beating correctly

 ➡ Helps regulate the functions of your heart.

 ➡ Keep your brain functioning at its highest capacity

 ➡ Potassium also helps build strong bones

 ➡ It helps cell and tissues grow

 ➡ It aids communication between nerves and muscles

It’s a busy guy…

A diet rich in potassium also helps offset the negative effects of sodium on blood pressure. 

The National Academy of Medicine sets adequate intake levels based on gender and age for a variety of nutrients.

The recommendation for Potassium intake is as follows:

Teens and adults should aim for around 4700 milligrams each day.  Unfortunately, less than half of adults in the United States meet the daily recommendation for potassium.

And, whether too much or too little potassium is circulating in your blood, it can affect your chances of developing Type 2 Diabetes or risk of complications if you already have the disease.

In general, electrolyte levels need to be balanced for your body to work properly.

Either higher or decreased levels of potassium can cause problems such as seizures, heart attacks, and even coma.

Some reasons why your potassium levels may change include: 

 ➡ Kidney problems

 ➡ Changing hormone levels

 ➡ Frequent urination

 ➡ Vomiting

 ➡ Taking certain medications, especially cancer medications

Certain Diabetes medications can also affect your potassium levels:

 ➡ For example, if you take insulin but have not maintained good control of your diabetes, your potassium levels may dip below the normal level.

Negative effects of too much Potassium (Hyperkalemia):

Potassium overdoses are uncommon – and none have been reported from food alone. But using potassium supplements or salt substitutes such as potassium chloride can result in higher potassium levels and in the most severe cases, sudden death.

Signs of potassium overdose include:

 ➡ Confusion

 ➡ Muscle weakness

 ➡ Nausea and vomiting

 ➡ An irregular heartbeat

Negative effects of not enough potassium (Hypokalemia) may include:

  • When sodium levels rise, potassium levels tend to go down. That’s a good reason to gradually cut excess sodium from your diet.
Other triggers for low levels of potassium include: 
➡ Eating disorders 
➡ Severe vomiting or diarrhea
➡ Dehydration
➡ Certain medications, including laxatives, diuretics, and corticosteroids, all of which are also commonly prescribed for diabetics.

Although it may be a little boring, understanding the effects of Potassium on your Diabetes could potentially save you from losing your kidney function, requiring a kidney transplant, and perhaps even save your life.

Medical Conditions Affecting The Need ForPotassium

 ➡ People with kidney conditions that impair their ability to cut potassium from their bodies may need to take less than the recommended number of milligrams.

 ➡ People taking medications for heart disease specifically diuretics or ACE inhibitors  (which help relax the blood vessels), should not take potassium supplements and may need to limit their dietary intake.

Always seek the guidance of a medical professional before using ANY supplements.

Your level of potassium affects Diabetes, as recent studies show.

According to researchers at Johns Hopkins University School Of Medicine, low potassium levels were linked with high levels of insulin and glucose in people who were otherwise healthy.

  • Those are traits doctors usually associate with Diabetes.

And, a study conducted in 2011 found that people taking thiazides, which are medications to treat high blood pressure, experienced a loss of electrolytes such as potassium.

  • They noted that this loss may increase the risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes.

How to prevent an electrolyte disorder

. Understanding The Effects Of Potassium On Your Diabetes-ELECTROLYTESVisit a doctor if you’re experiencing any of the symptoms of an electrolyte disorder.
. If it is caused by medications or underlying conditions, your doctor will adjust your medication and treat the cause to help prevent future electrolyte imbalances.
. Stay hydrated if you’re experiencing prolonged vomiting, diarrhea, or sweating.

It can’t be said often enough: Understanding the effects of potassium on your Diabetes is important.

 Diagnosing an electrolyte disorder

A simple blood test can measure the levels of electrolytes in your body. If you’re a Diabetic, it will also be important to have a blood test that looks at your kidney function. 

Call your doctor right away if you’re experiencing any of these symptoms and suspect you might have an electrolyte disorder.

Electrolyte disturbances can become life-threatening if left untreated.

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Also, read about the Magnesium And Calcium Needs Of Diabetics here.

Click here for a summary of potassium-rich foods to help you manage your Diabetes.