Let’s get one thing straight, you NEED potassium, even in kidney disease. Further to that, you do not need to run for the hills if a certain food has high potassium levels. Eating a well balanced diet full of fruits and vegetables is a GOOD thing, and may even help you reverse your kidney disease…
Confused because it goes against everything you have read and have been told? Don’t be, there is good reason, and I’ll do my best to explain…
The purpose of this article: to dispel the mis-conceptions around lowering potassium in kidney disease; detail simple easy to follow steps on how to lower potassium levels naturally through diet and other techniques; to educate you on all things potassium, so the next time you are in front of your doctor you can keep up, and maybe even teach him or her a thing or two.
What Is Potassium And Why Do I Need It?
If you are new to this blog, it is important to know that before I start to get too deep into subject matter, I like first to bring it back a little so I can discuss the fundamentals. This gives you a good frame work to understand some of the principles that I talk about, and allows you to make better judgment calls when I, or your doctor, says something. This allows you to be in control of your health. The way it should be, yes?
What is potassium?
• Potassium at its most basic level is a soft silvery-white metal (mineral), sharing a very similar chemical structure to sodium. Behind only to calcium and phosphorus, it is the most abundant of all the minerals totalling 225 grams of your body weight – that’s the weight of the palm of your hand.
• Potassium is also known as an ‘electrolyte’, due to its ability to be electrically conductive. An important feature in the human body, considering you and I are a network of electrical pulses.
• Potassium naturally occurs in nature, and is found present in many foods (see further on for a list of foods).
• Potassium is 19th on the periodic table (K is the chemical symbol for Potassium in Latin)
• Fact: 1/3 of the body’s total energy is required to hold the location of potassium and sodium in and around our cells.
• Note: Normal serum potassium levels are: 3.5 and 5.5 mEq/L (reference range)
Why do I need it?
Our body depends on this mineral for its survival… no potassium, no humans. Amazingly through our evolution we have utilized the earth from which we have sprung to carry out and allow certain functions to occur in the body. You may have heard that potassium is good for the heart, good for muscle contractions, and therefore good for lowering blood pressure, and even that it is beneficial in nerve conduction. All of which are true, but there is so much more that this mineral does for you.
Here is a list of other health benefits and actions of Potassium:
• Regulates pH balance
• Helps to thin the blood
• Maintains water/fluid balance
• Eye health
• Increases secretion of hormones: ADH, FSH and aldosterone
• Regulates blood sugar
• Aids protein synthesis
• Regulates cell permeability
• Acts as a capacitor within our cells to store energy
Welcome to my third edition of KidneyCoach.com News Weekly! The place where I do a round-up of all the top stories related to kidneys, kidney health and kidney disease for the week.
This edition covers many interesting stories where you will discover how low levels of vitamin D is linked to kidney disease complications, new insights into the cause of chronic inflammatioin in kidney disease sufferers, how gene mutations may hold the key for a certain kidney disease, a mystery kidney disease epidemic in Central America, among many others.
…There are plently of interesting and eyeopening news stories below that will both help and inform you.
Here are the top 8 news stories for the week:
News Story #1
News Story #2
News Story #3
News Story #4
When you are first diagnosed with kidney failure (eGFR of 15 ml/min or below), many emotions may arise: anger, shock, panic, despair, and a feeling of complete hopelessness. You try to hold your composure and recount the past days, weeks, and months that lead up to this event to see if there were any signs or past actions that may have caused this.
You draw a blank and the only thing you are left wondering is “how do we fix this?”
This is when disbelief really sets in. The only form of treatment that your doctor provides you is either kidney dialysis or kidney transplantation. Both of which are highly invasive and complicated.
For the purposes of this article we will be discussing kidney dialysis as a treatment option, as this is the most common treatment choice for most sufferers of kidney failure.
The life changing effects that these treatments have on your life are both profound, but unfortunately even these drastic measures do not offer healthy increases to life expectancy for the “average” person once they are diagnosed with kidney failure.
Kidney Failure Life Expectancy
Kidney failure life expectancy, like anything depends on many variables, some of which you can control, and others that you cannot control: age, gender, genes, race, diet, lifestyle choices, what caused your condition (etiology), the type of treatment you choose, etc.
It is therefore prudent to exercise your will to give yourself the best chance of being the “lucky*” ones that live for 20+ years on dialysis. (*luck definition = where preparation and action meet)
Once again it should be noted that we are discussing life expectancy in relationship to kidney failure. This means that the kidneys are now functioning at or below 15% – also termed as End-Stage-Kidney-Failure or Stage 5 Kidney Failure. It is important to make this distinction, because the life expectancy severely drops once at this level.
Let’s take a look at some of the stats…
• The life expectancy of a kidney failure patient with an eGFR of 10ml/min or less, ranges from 1 to 12 months without treatment of any kind (e.g. dialysis, transplant, natural medicine). The average is 6 months.
(Szeto CC, et el. Nephrology (Carlton). 2011 Nov;16(8):715-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1797.2011.01504.x.)
• The average life expectancy of someone receiving kidney dialysis is 4.25 years.
• The 10 year kidney dialysis life expectancy is 23%.
(Mailloux LU,et el. Clin Nephrol. 1994 Aug;42(2):127-35.)
Welcome to my second edition of KidneyCoach.com News Weekly! The place where I do a round up of all the top stories related to kidneys, kidney health and kidney failure for the week.
The featured news stories for this week cover everything from a potential new treatment that may halt the progression of kidney failure; feel-good stories where family members give their loved ones a new lease of life; clinical studies on how diet impacts the progression of kidney failure, and many more. But rather than me tell you about them…
Here are the top 6 news stories for the week:
News Story #1
Research aims to prevent diabetic kidney failure
The enzyme arginase-2 plays a major role in kidney failure, and blocking the action of this enzyme might lead to protection against renal disease in diabetes, according to researchers. “We believe these arginase inhibitors may be one of the new targets …
News Story #2
Comment: Here are two articles on the same story. The first is for the more technically minded, the second is in plain english. The articles are a another great example of the power that diet has on the human body in preventing and treating kidney disease.
“Our primary outcome was an estimated GFR less than 60 milliliters per minute, which represents a substantial loss of kidney function and is known to confer an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and death; essentially, it’s stage-III chronic …
Intense Kidney Protection
People can develop end-stage renal disease (the complete or almost complete failure of the kidneys) when they have an impaired glomerular filtration rate (GFR) – the volume of fluid filtered from the kidney. Dr. de Boer and colleagues wanted find out …
News Story #3
Comment: Here is a feel good story where a 14 y.o. daughter was able to save her mother’s life.
I thought I would do something a little different today. I thought I would do a weekly round-up of the all the top news related to the kidneys and kidney health. But further to that, I plan to do this as a regular featured post each and every week to keep you up to date with all the latest (and best) information on the web. The web is a big place, and so by doing this I would like to make it a little smaller by “distilling” all the information for you, making this the place to go to when you want the facts. Any news related to community events, scientific breakthroughs, diet, medicines, treatments, etc. related to kidney health, I will report it here!
But I won’t just leave it there, my goal will also to report on other stories that I feel that you might find interesting, inspiring, funny, and/or enlightening. In fact it is my hope that it gives you and me the opportunity to get off the beaten path and explore the many facets of life, health, and kidneys.
So here is how it will generally work:
1. I will post the links to the main news stories of the past week with a small description, and if needed, a few comments by myself to give you further insight.
2. You click on the link, and it will take you to the website that is reporting the news. Done!
OK, so let’s get on with it shall we? Excellent.
News Story #1
New Study in NEJM Offers Hope to Lupus Patients with Kidney Disease
Nephrologists at the Miller School of Medicine have played a key role in an international study that has uncovered an effective therapy for treating patients with lupus nephritis, a debilitating kidney disease linked to lupus. …
News Story #2
Vitamin B derivative helps diabetics with mild kidney disease
A vitamin B6 derivative may help slow or prevent the progression of mild kidney disease in patients with diabetes, according to a study appearing in an issue of the Journal of the American Society Nephrology (JASN). The drug may benefit increasing …