Tenayistilign Tips : Potassium

Potassium is a mineral (nitre-neger) that is found in many foods in Ethiopian diet. The kidneys play a key role in maintaining normal potassium which regulates the heart to beat regularly and the muscle to function properly.

Normal potassium level is 3.5-5 meq/l.

In patients who have kidney failure ( when kidneys are not working properly or  filtering adequately) the potassium level could become dangerously high. If potassium levels are high it can cause life threatening arrhythmia (irregular heart beat) so it’s appropriate to limit foods which are high in potassium.

In general patients with kidney failure are not advised to take more than 2000-3000 miligram of potassium per day but advised to work with their physician or health care provider for specific recommendations.

Examples of high potassium food items that need limitation in patients with kidney failure include:

Banana (muz), Avocado, Mango, Orange (Birtukan), Papaya

Lentils (misir), potato (Dinich), baked beans (yetekekele bakela),  spinach ( gomen), nuts and seeds ( lewuz)

Please be aware that Ethiopian staple diet, teff,  is a good source of potassium and may have to be taken with moderation if you have kidney failure.

1 cup of teff ( uncooked) has 824 mg of potassium  ( source USDA).

About Tenayistilign

I am a physician trained at Jimma Institute of Health Sciences ( now Jimma University, in Jimma, Ethiopia) and Wayne State University ( Detroit, MI, USA). I teach and practice General Nephrology/Hypertension and Kidney Transplantation in the USA.
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