Why Do People With Kidney Disease Need to Limit Potassium?


Quick Answer

People with kidney disease need to limit their potassium intake because kidneys regulate potassium in the blood, and diseased kidneys may be unable to maintain potassium at a healthy level, explains Healthline. Individuals with kidney disease are also advised to monitor their intake of sodium and phosphorus.

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Full Answer

In some cases, very high levels of potassium can cause an abnormal heartbeat or a heart attack, states the National Kidney Foundation. Symptoms of a high blood potassium level include sensations of tingling, weakness and numbness. A blood potassium level higher than 6.0 is considered dangerous. A level of 5.1 to 6.0 means the individual should exercise caution, while a level of 3.5 to 5.0 is considered safe.

Some ways to limit potassium intake include eating low-potassium foods, leaching vegetables rich in potassium and avoiding the liquid present in canned fruits and vegetables, according to the National Kidney Foundation. In addition to limiting the intake of high-potassium foods, the intake of foods relatively poor in potassium should also be monitored, as eating a sufficiently high amount of such foods may lead to the ingestion of high quantities of potassium. Leaching high-potassium vegetables is an effective way to reduce the potassium richness of a vegetable. Instructions for the procedure are available from the National Kidney Foundation. Individuals on dialysis who wish to limit their potassium intake should also make sure they are getting all the treatment and exchanges prescribed.

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