Hypertension is a medical terminology used to describe elevated blood pressure in the body. Blood pressure is often influenced by the level of sodium and water in the body. The body has its physiological mechanism for controlling blood pressure by maintaining a healthy sodium-potassium balance and eliminates excess fluid through urine and sweats. It is also important to reduce stress in your life by getting help with maid services, errands, house cleaning and more. Sodium in the blood draws into the cell by a process called osmosis. Thus, increased sodium often leads to increased body fluid which is a major contributing factor in hypertension.
Hypertension can be classified as primary or secondary depending on its etiology. Primary hypertension is often caused by genetics or specific lifestyle factors such as obesity, excessive alcohol intake, high stress from things like a cinch bug or grub pest infestation and smoking. Secondary hypertension is a type of hypertension that can be linked to an identifiable etiology. The most common causes of secondary hypertension include hyperthyroidism, coarctation of the aorta, Cushing syndrome, and pheochromocytoma.
Signs and Symptoms of Hypertension
There are numerous signs and symptoms of hypertension depending on the type of hypertension, there are classic signs and symptoms of primary hypertension, and the symptoms of secondary hypertension depends on the underlying etiology. The typical sign and symptoms include:
- Morning an occipital headache
- Fainting spells
Potassium is a macro element. Macro elements are chemical elements with minimal daily requirements of 100g. Other examples include calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, etc. Potassium is very vital in the physiological function of the body. Its deficiency is known as hypokalemia while hyperkalemia is the state in which there is too much potassium in the body. It is an intracellular located cation. Most of the potassium inside the body is located with the cell. Sources of potassium include but not limited to banana, beans, and lentils. Only around 8% of the potassium that the body takes in is used in the body, the rest of the potassium is excreted from the body.
Moderation is the key when it comes to potassium intake. It can be dangerous when taken in excess, especially in patients with nephrological diseases or problems metabolizing potassium/ Potassium is a major component of the DASH ( Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension) Diet which consists mainly of fruits, vegetables, Low-fat dairy products ( maximum of 1 percent) and fish.
Common Sources of Potassium
You can get potassium from different fruits and vegetables; It is available in most diet and salads. The most common source of potassium includes:
- Low-fat milk and yogurt
- Prune juice
- Orange juice
However, to reap the full benefits of potassium in our diet, it is advisable to combine it with an active lifestyle.
Most Americans don’t take the recommended daily dosage (4700 mg) for potassium intake despite the presence of banana in every fruit store. A medium sized banana contains an average of 425 mg of potassium. Most hypertensive patients are obese or overweight and trying to lose weight; it is advisable to eat foods low in calories such as broccoli, spinach, and leafy vegetables. However, there are also numerous healthy choices of potassium despite their high-calorie intakes such as sweet potatoes, butternut squash, kiwi, and nectarine.
Why is Potassium Good for the Body?
The functions of potassium in the body include the followings:
(1) Enhancement of brain function: This is because potassium enhances oxygen to be more delivered to the brain. The brain will not be able to work well without adequate oxygen delivery
(2) Enhancement of function of muscle: This is because potassium helps to bring about a cellular process, called repolarization. Effect of hypokalemia on the muscle includes muscular weakness and damage.
(3) Lowering the tendency of heart problem: Potassium is involved in the function of the heart. It also helps to prevent the development of high blood pressure. High blood pressure is dangerous for the body. The hypertensive patient tends to have a stroke, atherosclerosis, renal disease, heart failure, etc.
(4) Development of strong bones: Bones of the body needs minerals like phosphorous, calcium, potassium, etc. to keep up its hardness. Without mineralization of bone or when there is a loss of mineralization of bone there can be the development of osteoporosis in which case the bones can break easily.
(5) Prevention of high blood pressure: Potassium helps in the relaxation of the blood vessel. This allows blood to flow more freely. As a result of this, there will not be an excessive increase in blood pressure. People with hypertension have high blood pressure. Hypertension is a dangerous condition that has various complications.
(6) Prevention of kidney stone: Potassium citrate helps in lowering the level of calcium which is a common mineral in a kidney stone. Kidney stones form when there is a decrease in urine. It can due to accompany increase in substances that forms stone in the body. A kidney stone is a serious condition; the affected person may have:
- Pain on the side and back below the rib
- Pain on urination
- Urine of red or brown coloration.
- Urinary tract infection can occur as a complication of kidney stone. Etc.
(7) Water retention: High potassium intake helps to reduce water retention. This is because there will be an increase in urine production and reduce the level of sodium.
(8) Potassium also brings about increase in body metabolism. People that are trying to lose weight should try not to leave out foods rich in potassium out of their diet. Leaving such foods out may make them not to lose weight easily.
Potassium is one of the electrolytes in the body. It is an essential mineral of which importance cannot be over-emphasized. Serious effects can result from its lack of consumption. They include stroke, hypertension, osteoporosis, etc. However, it has been proven that ingesting the recommended daily intake of potassium can help in the treatment and prevention of hypertension.
Lomangino K. More Potassium in the Food Supply. Clinical Nutrition Insight. 2010;36(12):7-9. doi:10.1097/01.nmd.0000391422.11500.25.
13 Incredible Benefits of Potassium | Organic Facts. Organic Facts. 2018. Available at: https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/minerals/health-benefits-of-potassium.html. Accessed May 14, 2018.
LD M, Alan Carter P. Potassium: Health benefits and recommended intake. Medical News Today. 2018. Available at: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/287212.php. Accessed May 14, 2018.