Does Low Potassium Signal High Blood Pressure

potassiumAs I am sitting here eating my banana I remembered reading recently an article by Megan Rauscher in My Health. She wrote about a correlation between high blood pressure and low potassium levels. At least half of the population tested were African American. This was true regardless of the level of salt in the diet or cardiovascular risk factors.

The significance of what was observed is that it agrees with an earlier idea that potassium deficiency plays an important role in the development of high blood pressure.

Doctor Hedayati told Reuters Health that this association was stronger in African Americans than non-African Americans, which suggests possible racial differences in the development of high blood pressure.

In addition to having lower levels of potassium in the urine, individuals with hypertension were older, heavier, and more likely to be African American. These people also had lower glomerular filtration rates, which correlates with poor kidney function.

According to Hedayati, the potassium level in urine samples was strongly related to blood pressure. “The lower the potassium in the urine, the lower the potassium in the diet, the higher the blood pressure,” This effect was even more significant than the effect of salt on their blood pressure.

My doctor always tells me to cut down on salt in order to keep my blood pressure under control, but he has not mentioned anything about low potassium having an effect on it.

This is another case of needing more studies to see how much of a factor potassium may be in treating hypertension in humans. This may be something to check with your doctor about next time you are in for a checkup.

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