Medications for heart failure may affect the level of potassium in your body. Some diuretics cause loss of potassium and so we may encourage high dietary potassium intake. On the other hand, angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs), and aldosterone antagonists increase potassium levels, and you may need to decrease the potassium in your diet.
This guide provides basic information to help you start regulating your potassium level. These are general guidelines that may be tailored to meet your needs. Please talk to your doctor or nurse to make sure that these guidelines apply to you.
An excess of potassium in your blood (hyperkalemia) can have serious side effects and should be treated immediately. Side effects include weakness, general discomfort, nausea, diarrhea and pain. These side effects can progress to paralysis, a decreased ability to urinate and an irregular heartbeat.
Having a low potassium level (hypokalemia) can also be very dangerous. Symptoms of hypokalemia include muscle weakness, palpitations and muscle aches.
Tips to lower potassium
- Soak or boil vegetables and fruits in water to help reduce the potassium content.
- Look on labels for symbols listed as (KCl), K+, or potassium and avoid these foods. Potassium may be used in some foods as a preservative or a salt substitute.
- These foods are high in potassium and should be avoided: salt substitutes that contain potassium chloride such as Morton® Lite Salt™, potatoes, tomatoes, bananas, cantaloupe, cooked spinach, bran cereals and sports drinks.
This article provides general guidelines for moderating potassium. You may also want to make an appointment with a registered dietitian for more information.
This information is provided by the Cleveland Clinic and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition.