How Potassium Affects the Health of the Elderly


By Ramir Sarmiento

We know for a fact that nutrients are one of the greatest necessities for every human body. It can be achieved by staying healthy by following proper diet that gives your body the vitamins and minerals you need.

It is that easy and it does not have to be hard and complicated. But growing older may cause deficiency in vitamins and minerals. It is important then for the elderly to eat food rich in potassium and everyone who takes care of them should be knowledgeable about it.

With the help of sodium and calcium, potassium helps keep your heart healthy as it maintains the normal heartbeat, aids in maintaining the normal balance of water in the body, and as a result, it helps conduct nerve impulses and muscle contraction. An average-sized body may contain about 5 ounces (140 g) of potassium. Kidneys are responsible in controlling the blood levels of the minerals and help the body get rid of excess urine.

Potassium deficiency is easy to prevent because this mineral is present in almost all foods. Potassium rich foods include whole grains, lean meat, beans, green leafy vegetables and fruits such as bananas and oranges. Eating these foods will help the body gain the needed amount of potassium.

For some people, potassium deficiency is not really terrifying since there are plenty of sources of this mineral and it is easy to obtain. But for the elderly, potassium intake is of great importance because as the body grows old, the kidneys and other body organs have the tendency to deteriorate thereby making it hard for the body to absorb potassium.

For high blood pressure, medications that are prescribed by doctors as a treatment may not be that effective for the elderly. High blood pressure leads to serious a health condition and illnesses such as heart problems and diabetes. This is common to the elderly so on top of the medications for reducing high blood pressure, there is a need to have potassium supplement and it is best to discuss it with their doctor.

If you happen to observe an aged person having muscle weakness, gastrointestinal problems, irregular heart rate, and abnormal skin conditions such as numbness, it is best then to increase the potassium intake because these are symptoms of potassium deficiency.

One way for doctors to detect if the patient is potassium deficient is by taking a blood sample and checking for the potassium content. A person is declared potassium deficient if the potassium present in the blood is below 5.6 grams.

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