Hyperkalemia is a condition in which you exhibit high potassium levels in the blood. Although this mineral should usually be abundant in your diet, hyperkalemics need to avoid any dietary potassium contribution. High levels of this compound are usually the result of acute and chronic kidney failure, obstructive uropathy, glomerulonephritis or a rejection of a recent kidney transplant. The normal course of treatment includes dialysis, oral medication to remove excess potassium and other intravenous solutions. You will also have to adjust your diet to lower these levels as well. You should always consult your doctor before you begin a new regimen to avoid complications with your condition.
Avoid foods that you suspect you are allergic to, such as lactose, gluten, preservatives and additives. Allergic reactions can exacerbate and mask hyperkalemia symptoms, which include difficulty breathing, nausea and vomiting and fatigue.
Eliminate foods that are high in potassium. These items include noni juice, tomatoes, watermelon, peaches, lentils, potatoes, salmon and nuts. The daily recommended value of potassium is about 4,700 mg a day. You will want to significantly reduce this number, which you will want to discuss with your doctor.
Speak to your doctor before you consume any caffeinated items, herbs or teas as they may influence the medication you are taking and can make your condition worse. You should avoid taking the herbs alfalfa, dandelion, horsetail and nettle, which are known to increase potassium levels.
Drink water regularly as dehydration can make your symptoms worse. You should also exercise at least five days a week for 30 minutes each time. Stay properly hydrated during this time as well.
Follow the prescribed medication schedule set forth by your doctor. Hyperkalemia requires medical intervention and cannot be controlled by diet alone. If you experience any bothersome symptoms like nausea, weakness, absent heartbeats or a change in breathing, you should immediately seek medication attention. Common drug therapies include calcium choloride, insulin, beta agonists, diuretics, binding resins and sodium bicarbonate.
- MedlinePlus: Hyperkalemia
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Hyperkalemia
- “Nutrition”; Paul Insel, et al.; 2010
- Since high potassium levels directly affect your renal system, you should avoid highly-processed, sugary foods to avoid further health complications. You should also limit your intake of red meat and choose lean protein sources like chicken breast, fatty fish, beans and nuts.
- Never stop taking your prescription medication unless you speak to your doctor first. You can also ask about alternative therapies if you are sensitive to certain drugs.
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