Are You Getting Enough Potassium?
Potassium is an important mineral whose importance is often overlooked. However, it plays a huge role in optimal functioning of the heart, metabolism, muscles and the nervous system. Potassium also plays a role in maintaining fluid and electrolyte balance in body cells. Getting too little potassium is rare when one consumes a balanced diet, but certain medications and conditions can prohibit potassium absorption. Too little potassium can cause salt sensitivity and high blood pressure. The average adult should consume an estimated 3,500 milligrams of potassium per day; however, that number varies for pregnant or nursing mothers, children and those with certain health conditions. In fact, people who suffer from reduced kidney function or renal failure may not be able to process extra potassium, leading to hyperkalemia, or too much potassium. Medications such as diuretics, steroids and laxatives all can cause a loss of potassium, sometimes a severe loss.