It is mainly used for three di…
It is mainly used for three different areas; Balancing blood pressure levels, musculoskeletal functions, and as an electrolyte.
Balancing blood pressure levels.
Balanced levels of potassium and sodium are important for the body’s electrolyte levels. So, as sodium has a massive effect on the body’s blood pressure levels, increasing your daily potassium intake can help to keep your blood pressure levels secure as the increase of potassium will help to even out your internal sodium count.
Potassium is important for your smooth and skeletal muscles to contract. Because of this good strong levels of potassium are needed for regular digestive and muscular functioning. Potassium is also important for the health of your heart and with too little potassium in the body; your heart rate may increase into an irregular heartbeat- This may lead of a cardiac arrest.
Symptoms of hypokalemia
Symptoms of hypokalemia may include fatigue (feeling very tired), constipation, getting cramps throughout the body, and feeling weakness throughout the body.
How do you lose potassium from the body?
Potassium can be lost from the body in many ways. The most common way people lose potassium is via bodily fluids. (This is usually after taking medication. If this is the case, it will be lost through urine. Medications prescribed that may cause this include treatments for heart disease or high blood pressure.)
Other ways that potassium can be lost is through vomiting, diarrhoea, alcohol use or the use of diuretics/laxatives.
Occasionally, low levels of potassium are caused by not consuming enough potassium in your diet.
Treatments for hypokalemia (Ways to put potassium back into the body)
Good ways to put potassium back into the body would be to eat potassium rich foods. Some of these are; bananas, avocados, spinach, and sweet potatoes.
Stopping drinking excessive amounts of alcohol, and switching to medications which make you not urinate as often are also ways to keep your body’s potassium levels normal.
No medical interventions are needed to cure his disease.
Sodium deficiency in the body (hyponatremia)
What is hyponatremia?
Hyponatremia is when the levels of sodium in the blood in the body are too low.
What is sodium needed for in the body?
Sodium is essential for the body. Without it we would simply not function properly and in cases with complete lack of sodium we would die.
The most important roles of sodium in the body are to regulate your blood pressure and to help with muscle and nerve function.
Balancing blood pressure levels.
Sodium is absorbed into the blood through the GI tract (gastrointestinal tract) and is a very important factor for keeping your blood pressure levels steady. Sodium pulls in and keeps hold of water (hence why is it used as a curing product) this is useful to control the liquid content of the blood in the body. Without sodium we would lose the majority of the liquid content of the blood.
Muscle and nerve function.
Muscles and nerves require electrical currents to work. Both muscle and nerve cells create the needed electrical currents by regulating the flow of electrically charged molecules- sodium being an example.
In muscle cells the contraction of the muscle is stimulated by these electrical currents. However, in nerves, they require the electrical current to communicate with other nerves. Molecular pumps are used inside of cells to regulate the sodium levels outside of the cell as they are needed to be kept high. Whenever an electrical current is required by the body, cells allow the positively charged sodium ions, NA+, into the cell, generating a positive electrical current.
What part of the body regulates sodium levels?
Sodium levels are regulated very carefully in the body to prevent levels from getting too high, or too low. However, your kidneys are responsible for regulating the concentration of sodium; this includes retaining sodium when your levels are low and excreting sodium in your urine when levels are too high. People with kidney problems may be more susceptible to quick and dangerous changes in sodium levels due to the non-functioning of their kidneys. Other ways that sodium is lost is in the form of sweat. This means that people who sweat more than other people, such as athletes, are more likely to have a sodium deficiency during increased periods of physical activity.
Effects of sodium deficiency.
As sodium is such an important integral part of muscle and nerve function, too little sodium can have catastrophic effects on the body. Common effects of hyponatremia are; cramps, headaches, muscle spasms, irritability, restlessness, nausea and fatigue. However, more severe signs of it are; confusion, hallucinations, decreased consciousness and even resorting to being placed into a coma.
Treatments for sodium deficiency
The only treatment often needed for a deficiency in sodium is a dietary or lifestyle change. Only in severe cases of hyponatremia, intravenous (IV or drip) fluids and electrolytes may be required. In this case, medication is usually needed to treat the underlying cause of the hyponatremia as well as the medication to manage the symptoms of it.
Calcium deficiency in the body (hypocalcemia)
What is hypocalcemia?
Hypocalcemia, also known as hypocalcaemia is the lack of calcium in the body.
What is potassium needed for in the body?
Since calcium is a vital mineral, it is needed to build strong teeth and bones. Calcium is also required for your heart and other organs and muscles to function properly. If you do not get enough calcium as a child, it’s proven that you will not grow to your full height as an adult (Graham Rogers, MD on August 25, 2017).
Who is at risk of developing hypocalcaemia?
Many people are at an increased risk of developing hypocalcaemia as they age. This may be because of a variety of factors, including; poor calcium intake over an extended period of time- usually childhood, medications that may decrease calcium absorption, dietary intolerance to foods that contain calcium, hormonal changes- especially in women, and certain genetic factors.
Other causes of hypocalcaemia are; people with low levels of vitamin D- as it makes it harder to absorb calcium, people that medications and drugs used to treat elevated calcium levels, people with pancreatitis, people with hypomagnesaemia or hyperphosphatemia, septic shock, renal failure and the removal of the parathyroid gland tissue as part of surgery to remove the thyroid gland.
Missing your daily dose of calcium will not make you deficient over night, but it’s still important to eat calcium every day. Vegans are more likely to become calcium deficient quicker as they don’t eat calcium rich dairy products.
Effects of calcium deficiency
There are no short-term symptoms or effects of hypocalcaemia because the body maintains its calcium levels by taking calcium directly from the bones. However, having low levels of calcium for a long period of time can have serious effects. Such as; confusion or memory loss, muscle spasms, numbness and tingling in the hands, feet and face, depression, hallucinations, muscle cramps, weak and brittle nails, and having easy fracturing bones. Calcium deficiencies can affect all parts of the body, resulting in slower hair growth and fragile, thin skin.
It is also an important role player in both neurotransmitter release and muscle contractions. This is why calcium deficiencies can bring on seizures in otherwise healthy people.
Treatments for hypocalcaemia
Hypocalcaemia is usually quite easy to treat. It typically involves adding more calcium to your diet.
It is important that you do not self-treat by taking a lot of calcium supplements, As taking more than the recommended dose without your doctor’s approval can lead to serious issues such as kidney stones.
Supplements recommended by doctors include; calcium carbonate, calcium citrate and calcium phosphate. These can come in liquid, tablet or chewable forms.
What are the possible complications from having a calcium deficiency?
Complications from having hypocalcaemia include; eye damage, an abnormal heartbeat and osteoporosis. Serious osteoporosis can lead to difficulty walking, spinal fractures or other bone fractures and even disability.
Starch, proteins, lipids, reducing sugars, non-reducing sugars and vitamin C are all key nutrients needed for maintaining a balanced diet.
What do we need carbohydrates for?
We need carbohydrates in the body as glucose is our number one source of energy for our cells and brain. Without glucose we won’t be able to think and remember things as well as the neurotransmitters in your brain won’t be able to synthesize properly.
Carbohydrates also contain lots of vitamin B, which help you make red blood cells which transport oxygen around your body, and vitamin C, which helps you to keep your skin healthy and it reduces any damage to your body from toxic chemicals.
Furthermore, eating carbohydrates reduces the risk of heart disease and lowers your cholesterol levels dramatically.
Without glucose from the carbohydrates, your body would eat up your muscles instead, causing serious problems for your body.
Glucose even provides nutrients for the bacteria in our intestines, which help us to digest food.
What happens if you don’t have carbohydrates in your diet?
If you don’t have carbohydrates in your diet, you won’t have enough glucose in your blood, so your blood sugar levels will drop causing hypoglycemia
The signs of hypoglycemia are: hunger, shakiness, dizziness, confusion, difficulty speaking and feeling anxious or weak.
How do you put carbohydrates back in to your diet?
One way to put carbohydrates back into your body is eating foods like: grains, fruits, beans, milk products and vegetables.
What do we need proteins for?
We need protein in our body as every single cell in our body is made out of amino acids. Amino acids help us to repair and make new cells. Having a sufficient amount of protein in our body is also important for growth and development in small children, teenagers and pregnant women. To add to this it is also needed to make enzymes, hormones and other bodily chemicals. And is even an important building block for bones, muscles, cartilage, skin and blood.
What happens if you don’t have proteins in your diet?
There are nine essential amino acids you need to stay healthy. Without protein in your diet you can become amino acid deficient. Symptoms of amino acid deficiency include: muscle loss (unexpected weight loss caused by this), fatigue, depression, anxiety and even anemia. Your body will also be more prone to injury, and may take a lot longer to heal.
When your body is lacking the intake of protein, your body will start to break down your skeletal muscles to make sure that amino acids are still being produced and transported around the body; this is why people that are amino acid deficient may experience significant weight loss and severe weakness and fatigue.
How do you put proteins back in to your diet?
One way to put proteins back into your body is to eat foods such as meats, milk, fish, and eggs, poultry, soy, beans, legumes, nut butters, and some grains which are high in amino acids.
What do we need Vitamin C for?
We need vitamin C in the body as it helps with the synthesis of collagen; a major part of connective tissue, bones, cartilage, and teeth which helps you heal. Vitamin C also acts as an antioxidant for the body, which helps protect the body’s cells from damage.
What happens if you don’t have Vitamin C in your diet?
If you don’t have enough vitamin C in your body your blood vessels may become extremely weak with a possibility of them breaking. Symptoms of Vitamin C deficiency are: bleeding; especially from the gums, tooth loss, a slow and sometimes painful healing process, anemia, bleeding from the skin, bruising easily and very frequent nose bleeds.
How do you put Vitamin C back in to your diet?
You can put vitamin C back into your body by eating fruit and vegetables. Some of these that are high in vitamin C are: red or yellow peppers, oranges or orange juice, strawberries, blackcurrants, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and potatoes.