We all need to have a certain level of potassium in the blood, since this mineral that we obtain from various foods allows the body to function normally.Currently, people who have suffered a heart attack are advised to keep their potassium level within a certain range, but a recent study questions the maximum limit and suggests keeping it a little lower. In this article we tell you more details about this finding.
“Not very, very, not so.” This traditional popular saying that refers to the search for balance is once again proven in our diet. In this case it is potassium, a mineral that the body needs to function normally since, for example, it helps nerves and muscles to communicate and work together, allows nutrients to flow into cells and helps expel waste from them, as well as counteract some of the harmful effects of sodium (salt) on blood pressure. As if that were not enough, it helps in the synthesis of proteins, in the metabolism of carbohydrates and is essential in the electrical activity of the heart.
A recent study has shown that patients who have suffered a heart attack whose blood potassium levels stay within a certain range are less likely to die than those whose mineral levels are below or above that range.
Currently, the recommendations for people who have suffered a heart attack are that the potassium level stays between 4 and 5 mEq / L (that is, to milliequivalents per liter) and sometimes reaches up to 5.5 mEq / L. However, this study that was published in the Jan. 11 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association has found that the mortality rate for patients who had between 3.5 and 4.5 mEq / L in the blood It was similar, but it increased a lot by exceeding this level and, above all, by reaching 5 mEq / L or more.
To reach these conclusions, researchers from the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University in Atlanta, United States, analyzed the data of almost 39,000 patients who had suffered a heart attack and who were admitted to 67 hospitals in that country. the years 2000 and 2008, of which almost seven percent died while hospitalized.
Although more research is needed in this regard, specialists believe that there is no need to increase potassium levels to more than 4.5 mEq / L in patients who have suffered a heart attack, as it is “reasonable” to avoid levels of potassium very low (less than 3.5 mEq / L).
Most people get the potassium they need from food. Do you know what your main sources are? Among these are found in:
- Green leafy vegetables and cabbages, such as Swiss chard, spinach, broccoli and Brussels sprouts (or cabbages).
- Various fruits such as grapes (and raisins or raisins), blackberries, apricots (peaches), bananas (bananas), dates and kiwi. Also citrus fruits, such as oranges and grapefruit or grapefruit (and their juices).
- Root vegetables or tubers such as carrots, beets (beets or beets), potatoes (potatoes), sweet potatoes (sweet potato or sweet potato) and pumpkins (ahuyama).
- The tomato in all its forms: natural, in sauce, puree or juice.
- Avocado (avocado), peas (peas, peas) and dry beans (beans, beans, beans) and nuts.
But think that these are only some sources of potassium and there are still more that we do not name in this list, so that it does not become so extensive. Therefore, it is rare that a person does not have enough potassium to feel good, although sometimes it is possible for that to happen. In those cases, the doctor can tell you to take potassium supplements.
The opposite end, that is, having too much potassium in the blood, can also be harmful, especially after having suffered a heart attack (from what they found in this new study) or if you have kidney problems, for example, in that potassium can not be eliminated If this is your case, consult with a specialist and check with him or her the special diet that has recommended you, to follow it correctly and ensure that you have a healthy diet that can help you in your recovery and maintain the level of potassium in the blood you need.