The importance of potassium restrictions in the diets of chronic kidney disease (CKD) patients has been stressed for years. It lowers levels of serum potassium, therefore lowering the mortality risk. Recently, medical professionals have been questioning the evidence that points to dietary potassium restrictions. They believe that it is low-quality evidence that should not necessarily be utilized for CKD treatment.
About Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) occurs when there is damage in the kidneys that progresses over time. About 26 million adults in the United States are affected by CKD. It is often the result of another condition, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and polycystic kidney disease among others. Patients will experience the symptoms of their first disorder along with the effects of CKD, which include jaundice, stunted growth, high blood pressure, an enlarged liver or spleen, nausea, lack of appetite, vitamin deficiencies, fatigue, sleep issues, weakness, muscle cramps and twitches, changes in urination, persistent itching, shortness of breath, and swelling in the feet and ankles. Treatment is symptomatic and focuses on reducing complications and slowing progression. Doctors may prescribe diuretics, high blood pressure medication, cholesterol medication, anemia medication, and supplements to protect the bones. If CKD progresses enough, dialysis and kidney transplants may be necessary.
Dietary Restrictions for CKD
Andrew Morris, a medical professional at Coventry University in the UK, has questioned the evidence that suggests CKD patients should avoid high levels of potassium. With his colleagues, he performed a review and meta-analysis of five studies and two clinical trials in order to better understand the evidence.
In total, they reviewed the cases of 3,489 CKD patients. Results showed that a restricted diet reduced serum potassium by only 0.22 mEq/L, and lowered the mortality risk by 40%. The analysis also showed that lower levels of potassium did not impact disease progression. In the end, Morris and his team suggest that the current dietary restrictions that doctors suggest to CKD patients should remain, even though the research that suggests it is low quality.
More research is necessary to truly understand the impacts of a low potassium diet on CKD. Hopefully better research will lead to better treatment options as well.
Find the source article here.