Patients experiencing kidney failure should take care of their potassium intake since they are at a high risk for potassium metabolism disturbance. The kidneys help in the maintenance of normal serum-potassium level by removing excess potassium from the body. A person is most likely going to experience high levels of potassium in the body if the kidneys do not work effectively.
Patients with chronic kidney disease should limit their intake of potassium as this will help them to reduce the risk of fatigue, cramping, confusion, muscle weakness, myasthenia, arrhythmia, nerve damages, digestive problems, nausea, vomiting and stomach pain.
For patients who have lost about 50% kidney function, their diets should be low-fat, low-protein, and low-potassium. This is because the body cannot effectively remove excessive electrolytes and water from their blood. Therefore, proper diets help in reducing kidney burdens and also slow down the rate of kidney function decline.
NOTE: it is important to note here, that not all kidney disease sufferers will have high potassium levels. The majority will, but definitely not all. Therefore it is crucial that when you visit with your doctor you get your blood potassium levels checked! As you may be in a small percentage of people that can consume potassium freely.
For kidney disease patients, high concentrations of potassium can cause cardiac arrhythmia, metabolic acidosis, low blood calcium and muscle weakness. This can stop the heart from beating resulting in death.
The Recommended Potassium Intake For Kidney Disease Patients
Though the allowed amount of potassium varies from case to case, it should generally range between 1500mg-2700mg daily. Foods that have more than 250mg of potassium per serving are high potassium foods. The most common foods that are rich in potassium include salmon, lobster, tomatoes, potatoes, legumes, beans, beet, dried fruits and avocados. Kidney disease patients should therefore stay away from consuming these foods.
Foods To Choose
Most, if not all, foods contain some potassium. Kidney disease patients should therefore aim foods that have less than 250mg per serving. Examples of foods low in potassium include chicken, eggs, grapes, onions, green peas, berries, plums, raspberries, tangerine, kales, peaches and asparagus.
Foods To Reduce/Avoid
Foods that have more than 250mg of potassium per single serving are considered to be rich in potassium. Most dairy products and vegetables contain high levels of potassium. Examples of foods that should be reduced or avoided include black-eyed peas, avocados, corn, spinach, potatoes, bananas, apples, kiwi fruit, water melon, beans and oranges.
Too much potassium in the body can cause irregular heartbeat. As the kidney disease is being treated, the patient should reduce his intake since the kidney cannot remove the excess potassium.
Apart from doing away with foods rich in potassium completely, the patient can alternatively remove the potassium by soaking the vegetables in water. The ions will then seep out, after which he can then cook and eat the vegetables. This method is called “potassium leaching”.