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don1942

High potassium and kidney damage

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don1942

I visited my nephrologist today to follow up after my heart attack, renal failure, and KTA on Memorial Day. He advised that we are born with about 1 million small capillaries in our kiddies which act as filters for cleaning out waste products in your blood. Over time, these tiny blood vessels deteriorate and die off but can not be replaced. By the time wereach 70 or so the number of thes vessels is reduced to about 750,000; however, high blood glucose adds a type of plaque to the walls of these vessels which causes damage such that a diabetic experiences additional damage and the number of these vessels is reduced to about 500,000.

 

In addition to the damage caused by high blood glucose, high potassium can also cause damage. Accordingly, diabetics should avoid eating food with high potassium content such as bananas, oranges, tomatoes, avocados, milk, peanuts, and the list goes on.

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adiantum

Thats an interesting side effect of high blood glucose Don.

 

What is KTA ?

 

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Coravh

Eating a lot of potassium does not damage a healthy kidney. But eating that way when you have kidney damage already can kill you. You know how you can get a cramp in your calf and people tell you to eat a banana (cramp is due to low potassium in your extremities)? Well if your potassium gets too high, you can have the same sort of cramp in your heart. That's why it's so important to restrict potassium when your nephrologist tells you to. But don't do it before you have to. It's hard to do and too low potassium can also do a lot of damage. It's a narrow range.

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don1942

Diabetes weakens the kidneys such that they can no longer eliminate excess potassium. Excess potassium can damage your heart.

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Coravh
5 hours ago, don1942 said:

Diabetes weakens the kidneys such that they can no longer eliminate excess potassium. Excess potassium can damage your heart.

It's the heart attack from the out of range potassium (either too high or too low) that causes the damage for the most part. The bottom line is that keeping your potassium at a safe level is one of the most important aspects of kidney disease. And also pretty difficult. Make sure you've got a good nephrology team (doc, nurse, dietitian, social worker) to help.

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Kit

Potassium is a balancing act.  My brother was on dialysis, which would remove potassium from his system.  There were times he actually had up his intake of foods with potassium if it were dropping too low.

 

Sadly phosphorus was his downfall.  Dialysis didn't remove it.  Instead he had to drastically limit his consumption and take phosphate binders with every meal.  It was a struggle and, in the end, the trigger for the final cause of his death.  Too much phosphorus messes up your calcium metabolism.  His arteries and heart valves ended up 80-90% blocked by deposits of calcium.

 

To be on the transplant list, you have to have yearly physicals.  One year he passed it with flying colors (not long after he got on dialysis, or was it right before?).  The next year he utterly failed and they discovered the calcium deposits.  About nine months later he was dead from a massive heart attack.

 

However, I have to be s stickler on the subject of accuracy.  High levels of potassium are dangerous to your body.  If your kidneys are damaged, they can have trouble removing excess potassium.  Hence you need to be vigilant on the subject of potassium if you are having problems with your kidney.

 

That does not mean that potassium damages your kidneys.  Just that diabetics are more likely to have high BG levels (and possibly high levels of circulating insulin levels) which are known to cause significant damage to those small and tiny vessels which are vital for kidney function.

 

The funny thing.  He'd never had high blood pressure, but had been faithfully taking BP meds to "protect his kideys".  Didn't work, did it.

 

Personally I intend to avoid the damage in the first place and keep my BG levels (and hopefully excess circulating insulin) in the non diabetic range.  I've got my life to see if this works.  Given the history of diabetics with complications in my family, I believe another path is certainly worth a try.

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