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The benefits of potassium for the heart

How does lack of potassium affect the heart?

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How does lack of potassium affect the heart?

Potassium plays an important role in regulating the contractions of all muscles, including the heart muscle. Very low levels of potassium in the body can lead to irregular heart rhythms, including sinus bradycardia, ventricular tachycardia, and ventricular fibrillation.

The benefits of potassium for the heart

The benefits of potassium for the heart are impressive, and they are as follows:

1. Improve blood pressure

The American Heart Association (AHA) indicated that foods that contain high potassium can help regulate and control blood pressure through the following mechanisms: 

  • Reducing the negative impact of sodium by helping the body get rid of it, as high levels of sodium may lead to an increase in the chances of developing high blood pressure.
  • Relax the walls of the blood vessels.

So, eating enough potassium may prevent or control high blood pressure , and this is one of the most prominent benefits of potassium for the heart, as high blood pressure can make the heart work harder and increase the risk of heart disease in addition to other health conditions, such as: 

  • brain attack.
  • congestive heart failure;
  • Kidney disease.
  • blindness.

2. Lowering cholesterol

Although there is no direct relationship between the two, many cholesterol- lowering diets are also high in potassium, including fruits and vegetables.

Notably, lower levels of bad cholesterol will lower the chance of heart disease as well.

3. Pacemaker

One of the benefits of potassium for the heart is that it plays a prominent role in every heartbeat, as it helps the heart to pump blood around the body about 100,000 times a day, and potassium enables the heart to beat in a healthy and healthy way.

So if a person has heart rhythm problems, potassium may be the key that a doctor can advise.

4. Heart disease prevention

If a person eats large amounts of potassium and a low amount of sodium, this may contribute to reducing the chances of developing cardiovascular disease.

5. Reducing the risk of stroke

High blood pressure is a major risk factor for strokes, so it is not surprising that increased potassium consumption is also associated with a lower incidence of stroke .

Also it showed a study conducted in 2014 from the American Heart Association that women who received a sufficient amount of potassium in their diet daily suffered fewer strokes after menopause.

The lower incidence of stroke could be attributed to potassium’s heart-healthy benefits, which include blood pressure control and heart rhythm regulation 

Food sources of potassium

The best and easiest way to get enough potassium is to add high potassium fruits and vegetables to your diet. Great sources of potassium include: 

  • Potatoes.
  • tomatoes.
  • avocado
  • Fresh fruits, such as: bananas , oranges, and strawberries.
  • Orange juice.
  • Dried fruits, such as: raisins, apricots, prunes, and dates.
  • spinach;
  • Dairy products.
  • Whole grains.
  • meat.
  • fish.

Recommended potassium intake

The recommended appropriate amount of potassium for an adult person to eat is about 4,700 milligrams per day.

Disadvantages of excessive potassium consumption

Anyone can normally tolerate high levels of potassium removed by the kidneys, but too much potassium may be harmful to people with kidney disorders. When the kidneys’ ability to remove potassium from the blood is reduced, it may build up to cause hyperkalemia.

People with hyperkalemia may have no or very few symptoms, such as:

  • feeling sick
  • Weak or irregular pulse.
  • fainting;

Severe or sudden hyperkalemia that requires immediate medical attention may also cause:

  • Heart palpitations.
  • Shortness of breath .
  • pain in chest.

Cautions of potassium consumption for the heart

To enjoy the benefits of potassium for the heart without any risks, you should follow the following tips and precautions:

  • Never take potassium supplements without a prescription; As this may seriously raise potassium levels in the blood.
  • Check the potassium content in salt substitutes, as it can be high.
  • Consult a doctor about the amount of potassium that should be taken in cases of kidney problems, such as: kidney failure.
  • Tell the doctor about the medications you are taking, as some of them may raise the level of potassium in the blood, such as: ACE inhibitors and spironolactone . 

source : wikipedia 

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