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Adverse events should be reported to the Vifor Pharma group.
Find out why it is important to control your potassium levels, whether you are at risk of high potassium and what you can do about it
A diet high in potassium may also cause high potassium, especially in people whose kidneys are already not working properly.
If you have been told you have high potassium you may be advised to follow a potassium-restricted diet.
When discussing your potassium levels with your doctor it is extremely important that they know about all the medicines you are taking – prescription, over-the-counter, and herbal.
It is also important that you do not just stop taking your prescription medicine, particularly if you have heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, or kidney disease.
It is not easy to tell if you have high potassium because most people don’t show any signs. If you do get symptoms, they will usually be mild and similar to those associated with many other conditions. You may feel:
If you experience the following symptoms call an ambulance or go to the emergency department:
In most people high potassium develops slowly over weeks or months and is most usually mild.
However, it can come on suddenly and a very high level of potassium is a life-threatening condition that requires urgent medical care.
Because most people don’t have any specific symptoms, high potassium is usually found by chance during a routine blood test. A level of potassium above 5.0 is considered high.
You will probably be advised to follow a low-potassium diet. Your doctor or dietician will be able to advise you on how strict you need to be and how to work out what foods you can eat.
You should avoid taking salt substitutes and some supplements and medicines. However, there are some medicines that can help to lower the levels of potassium in your blood, such as water pills (diuretics). However, they need to be used with care.
Some medicines are specially designed to remove potassium from your system. These so-called potassium binders pass through the body picking up potassium as they go. They often come as a powder that you mix with a small amount of water or juice.
When swallowed, they ‘stick’ to the extra potassium in the bowels and remove it. Not all potassium binders are the same so always read the leaflet carefully. Potassium binders are not suitable for use in children.
However, if you have high potassium or a condition like diabetes, heart disease or kidney disease that puts you at risk of high potassium, it is important that you do your best to follow a low-potassium diet.
There are plenty of healthy options in all the food groups to enable you to eat tasty and nutritious meals that are low in potassium.
You may need to limit these foods in your diet:
Bananas, melons, oranges, nectarines, kiwi, mango, papaya, prunes, pomegranate, dates, dried fruits, dried figs
Avocados, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, parsnips, pumpkin, vegetable juices, white potatoes, winter squash, tomato and tomato-based products, deep-coloured and leafy green vegetables (such as spinach or Swiss chard) dried beans and peas, black beans, refried beans, baked beans, lentils, legumes
Milk and yogurt, nuts and seeds, bran and bran products, chocolate, granola, molasses, peanut butter, salt substitutes
You may need to include these in your diet, but limit your portion size:
Apples, blueberries, cranberries, grapes, grapefruit, pears, pineapple raspberries, strawberries
Asparagus, cabbage, aubergine, green beans, green peas, iceberg lettuce, onions, radishes, turnips, water chestnuts
Rice, noodles, pasta, bread and bread products (not whole grain), pies without chocolate or high potassium fruit, cookies without nuts or chocolate
But it’s not just about eating low-potassium foods. Because almost all foods contain some potassium, portion size and how the food is prepared is important: