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What Causes High Potassium Levels In Diabetics

Relation Of Low Potassium And Risk Of Diabetes

Dangers of High Potassium Value in Diabetes Patients Symptoms Causes Treatment Management

It is believed that potassium causes the release of insulin from the beta cells of the pancreas. Low levels of potassium can contribute to the stress of the pancreas and result in future insulin resistance, leading to type 2 diabetes mellitus. It has been noticed that a higher intake of dietary potassium may result in a reduced risk of diabetes mellitus.

What Causes High Potassium Levels In The Elderly

As people age, kidney functions change. Once blood flow starts decreasing, the kidneys ability to filter the incoming blood also decreases. The result is a slower excretion of potassium, which can lead to hyperkalemia. In patients who experience acute or chronic kidney disease or kidney failure, the problem becomes even more severe.

Another cause of increased potassium levels could be an excessive intake of potassium. Potassium-rich foods like bananas, yogurt, boiled potatoes, and tomatoes are soft and often easy for elderly people with dental problems to chew. Older people tend to eat more prunes and raisins, which are also both high in potassium.

The use of supplements that are high in potassium or using salt substitutes can also cause an increase in potassium levels. Some people use potassium chloride salt substitutes, which are helpful at lowering blood sodium levels, but they can be dangerous for someone with problems excreting potassium.

Medications can also be the cause of higher potassium levels. Its not uncommon for elderly patients to be put on diuretics which can cause potassium excretion to decrease. Watch out for nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen or aspirin, as they can make the body struggle with removing potassium from the bloodstream.

There are other less common causes of hyperkalemia, which include:

Importance Of Raasi Therapy In Diabetes Patients At Risk Of Hf And Ckd

Renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system therapy in those with CKD, diabetes, and heart failure with preserved ejection fraction was presented in guidelines by several professional organizations, including the American Heart Association, American College of Cardiology, and American Diabetes Association

One consequence that should be anticipated in patients with diabates who either discontinue or receive suboptimal RAASi therapy is an increased risk of renal and cardiovascular adverse events. Dr. McCullough said.; Based on findings published in 2015,3 he said that when patients with CKD, HF and DM were evaluated together, more than 34% of those who discontinued RAASi had adverse outcomes or mortality, compared to less than one in four patients who had received the maximum dose or even a sub-maximum dose.

“In effect, if we could get patients to a higher dose of RAASi, they would have much better kidney and CV outcomes,” he said.

The potassium binder polystyrene sulfate has been around since 1958, and there are two newer therapeutics: patiromer , from Relypsa, and the more recently approved sodium zirconium cyclosilicate , from AstraZeneca.;”Both cof these newer drugs can be given to patients once a day,” Dr. McCullough said.

The takeaway message for clinicians, he said, is to resist the response to managing patients with hyperkalemia by reducing RAASi as this is linked to poor cardiorenal outcomes.1

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Eating For High Potassium

If you learn that you have high potassium, your doctor might suggest that you change your diet to take in less potassium.

Talk to your doctor or dietitian about how much potassium you should have and how you can control how much potassium you eat. Your dietitian can recommend foods that are low in potassium that you can eat instead of foods that are high in potassium.

Follow these tips to keep your potassium at the right level:

  • Avoid salt substitutes because they are usually high in potassium.
  • Do not forget about drinks. Many fruit juices, like orange and tomato, have high potassium. Potassium can also be found in other drinks including coconut water.
  • Pay attention to serving sizes. Use measuring cups and measuring spoons to make sure you know how many servings you are eating or drinking. Remember that if you eat two servings of a food with potassium, you are eating twice as much potassium!

To manage your potassium intake, you need to know how much potassium is in your food and drinks.

Plan ahead if you know you will be eating a meal that is high in potassium. For example, if you are going out for dinner and you know your meal will be higher in potassium, or you know that it will be hard to measure how much potassium is in your meal, plan to eat meals that are low in potassium for breakfast and lunch.

Effects Of High Potassium


In many cases, there are no symptoms of high potassium, which means the damage could be occurring without the patient even realizing it. Some symptoms of high potassium levels include muscle weakness; diarrhea; weak, slow, or irregular pulse; paresthesia; abdominal cramping; nausea; irritability; or even sudden collapse. To diagnosis high potassium, doctors often use laboratory data and changes in electrocardiogram readings. Its important to note that not all patients will display changes in their electrocardiogram though.

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Why Your Potassium Might Be Low

Your doctor can test your potassium level with a sample of your blood or urine. A potassium test is often part of a routine physical exam.

Women need 2,600 milligrams of potassium every day while men need 3,400 milligrams. Many Americans don’t get enough potassium from their diet.

Certain medicines also lower potassium levels, including certain diuretic drugs that treat high blood pressure, which cause the kidney to put both sodium and potassium in the urine.

Why Diabetes Causes Hyperkalemia

If you have diabetes, your body is unable to produce insulin- the chemical that regulates sugar levels in your blood. This triggers the fat cells to break down and release ketones. Ketones are chemicals that increase the acidity of your blood.

High blood acidity, combined with high blood sugar, acts to force the potassium in your body cells to move out into your blood. Therefore, the potassium content of your blood increases.

Further, high blood glucose in diabetes is capable of destroying the blood vessels in the kidneys and the adrenal glands. This reduces their capacity to release potassium with urine and eventually you develop hyperkalemia. This is how your diabetes may lead to hyperkalemia.

Symptoms of hyperkalemia are:

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High Potassium Levels And Diabetes

High levels of potassium often result from damage of the kidney. This damage is often a result of poorly controlled diabetes mellitus. This kidney damage is one of the major complications of diabetes and is called diabetic nephropathy.

High levels of potassium also occur in the case of diabetic ketoacidosis. This is a serious metabolic condition commonly seen in people with type 1 diabetes. Too much potassium can lead to paralysis, weakness, irregular heartbeat or even heart attack.

How Much Potassium Should I Have Per Day

12 Signs & Causes of Low Potassium Levels YOU SHOULD NOT IGNORE

Consuming potassium-rich foods is recommended as part of a healthy dietary pattern and is especially beneficial for those who have elevated blood pressure or hypertension.1 For the average American adult, the recommended dietary intake of potassium is 4.7g/day. However, the average American adult only consumes 2.2g of potassium per day.2 If your blood pressure is over 120/80 , it is especially important to increase your intake of potassium-rich foods.1

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Why Is Hyperkalemia A Cause Of Concern

Hyperkalemia can have far-reaching effects on our body. It has several adverse health effects which are why you should be wary of this condition.

While potassium is necessary for the effective functioning of the heart and different muscles of the body, excessive levels of potassium should be avoided at the same time.

  • Hyperkalemia can cause interruptions in the electrical activity of the heart and can ultimately cause the heart to stop functioning.
  • Muscle paralysis can also be caused due to high levels of potassium in the body
  • Finally, the condition has far-reaching adverse effects on the skeletal muscles

We hope that the above article has helped you to understand more about hyperkalemia and how diabetic ketoacidosis can cause the condition. It can be really severe and as such, you should be able to effectively manage your diabetes and diabetic ketoacidosis so that you can avoid suffering from the high levels of potassium in your blood!!

What Are The Treatments For High Potassium

There are two ways to treat high potassium, through diet and/or medicine.

Potassium binders

Medicines for high potassium are called potassium binders. A potassium binder works by sticking to the potassium in your body and preventing some of it from being taken into your bloodstream. This helps to keep potassium from building up in your blood. The medicine is a powder, which you can take by mixing it with water and drinking. Talk to your doctor about whether a potassium binder could be an option for you.

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Structural Analysis And Synthesis

Purified animal-sourced insulin was initially the only type of insulin available for experiments and diabetics. was the first to produce the crystallised form in 1926. Evidence of the protein nature was first given by , , and Philip A. Shaffer in 1924. It was fully proven when Hans Jensen and Earl A. Evans Jr. isolated the amino acids phenylalanine and proline in 1935.

The amino acid structure of insulin was first characterized in 1951 by , and the first synthetic insulin was produced simultaneously in the labs of at the and at in the mid-1960s. was achieved by Chinese researchers in 1965. The complete 3-dimensional structure of insulin was determined by in ‘s laboratory in 1969.

The first genetically engineered, synthetic “human” insulin was produced using in 1978 by and at the of the in collaboration with at . Genentech, founded by Swanson, Boyer and , went on in 1982 to sell the first commercially available biosynthetic human insulin under the brand name . The vast majority of insulin used worldwide is biosynthetic recombinant “human” insulin or its analogues. Recently, another approach has been used by a pioneering group of Canadian researchers, using an easily grown plant, for the production of much cheaper insulin.

Two other Nobel Prizes have been awarded for work on insulin. British molecular biologist , who determined the of insulin in 1955, was awarded the 1958 . received the 1977 Nobel Prize in Medicine for the development of the for insulin.

What Is Diabetes

Potassium 101 for patients with kidney disease (CKD)

Diabetes is a disease that afflicts millions of people around the world, and its treatment costs billions of dollars each year .

There are several types of diabetes, and its primary symptom is high blood sugar levels .

Type-1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease leading to lack of insulin.

Beta cells of the pancreas are responsible for insulin production and in patients with type-1 diabetes some autoimmune reactions destroy these cells.

Insulin helps move the glucose from the blood into muscles, fatty tissue, and heart muscle cells.

If your pancreas cannot produce enough insulin, the glucose will remain in your blood and symptoms like hyperglycemia, frequent urination and excessive thirst.


Your brain regulates the internal environment of your body and tries to get rid of the excess of any substance, which may affect pH levels, including glucose, potassium or sodium through urine, stool, breath, perspiration, etc.

Yet, the more you urinate, the more you need to drink to prevent dehydration.

Thirst is a signal that your body does not have enough fluids.

Symptoms of type 2 diabetes are;like those of type 1 diabetes, but the cause of the disease is different.

While in type 1 diabetes your pancreas does not produce enough insulin, in type 2 diabetes you may have enough insulin, but your cells fail to respond to it adequately, due to insulin resistance. Thus, glucose cannot get into the tissues and remains in the blood, leading to hyperglycemia.

The summary

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Detection By Taste Buds

Potassium can be detected by taste because it triggers three of the five types of taste sensations, according to concentration. Dilute solutions of potassium ions taste sweet, allowing moderate concentrations in milk and juices, while higher concentrations become increasingly bitter/alkaline, and finally also salty to the taste. The combined bitterness and saltiness of high-potassium solutions makes high-dose potassium supplementation by liquid drinks a palatability challenge.

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Hyperkalemia Caused By Decreased Excretion Of Potassium

Effective excretion of potassium is dependent on aldosterone and sufficient distal delivery of sodium and water within the nephron. Hyperkalemia may occur when one of these mechanisms is impaired because of renal failure, renal hypoperfusion , or hypoaldosteronism. Hypoaldosteronism may be the cause of hyperkalemia in patients who do not have advanced renal failure or hypoperfusion.11

Hyporeninemic hypoaldosteronism, a syndrome associated with type IV renal tubular acidosis, may be part of the mechanism behind hyperkalemia in patients with mild renal failure, particularly diabetic nephropathy. Hyporeninemic hypoaldosteronism can cause patients who have diabetic nephropathy to develop acute elevations of potassium because of medications or stress .12

Potassium In Your Protein


Certain meats, fish, and dairy products are good sources of potassium but can also be high in sodium with flavor enhancers. Choose herb and citrus based marinades for meats and fish and add fresh fruit to dairy. Heres a breakdown of the potassium levels in different protein sources:

  • Meat: Cured ham , pork loin , beef tenderloin steak , chicken dark meat , ground turkey patties
  • Fish: Yellowtail , bluefish , mahi-mahi , Atlantic cod , skipjack tuna
  • Dairy: Low-fat yogurt , low-fat milk , part skim ricotta , low-fat cottage cheese 6

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Causes Of Low Potassium Levels

Low potassium levels may be due to something as relatively simple as dehydration from excessive sweating, vomiting, or diarrhea, or to something more serious such as an adrenal gland problem, cystic fibrosis, or severe burns, for example. Low levels can also result from taking diuretics or from malnutrition.

Low Potassium In People Who Have Diabetes

If you already have diabetes, low potassium could be due to a complication called diabetic ketoacidosis. When your body can’t make enough insulin to use sugar for fuel, it breaks down fat to use as energy instead.

The breakdown of fat releases chemicals called ketones into your blood. They can build up to dangerous levels in your body and cause symptoms like thirst, nausea, weakness, and shortness of breath. The fluids and insulin your doctor gives you to treat diabetic ketoacidosis can make your potassium levels drop. The ketones themselves along with high blood sugar can lead to potassium loss through the kidney.

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Treating High Potassium Levels

Emergency treatment may be needed in situations where potassium levels are very high and there are concerns noted in an electrocardiogram reading. You may need an IV with calcium to treat the effects on the heart. They may need to administer glucose and insulin through your IV as well, which can quickly decrease potassium levels long enough to effectively correct the issue.

If kidney function is deteriorating, you may also need kidney dialysis, water pills, sodium bicarbonate, or other medication to help remove the excess potassium from the intestines prior to absorption.

Hyperkalemia And Diseases Of The Adrenal Gland

Hyperkalaemia (high potassium level in the blood)

Adrenal glands are small glands located adjacent to the kidneys, and are important in secreting hormones such as cortisol and aldosterone. Aldosterone causes the kidneys to retain sodium and fluid while excreting potassium in the urine. Therefore diseases of the adrenal gland, such as Addison’s disease, that lead to decreased aldosterone secretion can decrease kidney excretion of potassium, resulting in body retention of potassium, and hence hyperkalemia.

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What Are Good Sources Of Potassium

The DASH diet is one approach that can help you increase your potassium intake and improve your blood pressure. DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, and it is a dietary pattern that is low in sodium, high in potassium, and mostly plant-based. It has been shown in many medical studies to effectively lower blood pressure.5

In general, the best sources of potassium are beans, fish, and vegetables, with lower levels found in grains, nuts and seeds.

Potassium And Diabetes: What Is The Link

Potassium is an essential mineral that has some vital functions in the body. It regulates blood pressure, prevents water retention in the body and protects against stroke, osteoporosis and kidney stones. Studies also suggest that low blood potassium levels may increase the risk of diabetes. In this article, we will take a detailed look at the link between diabetes and potassium.

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