Hypertension diets, high blood pressure, low in salt, high in potassium.

@writersedge (22579)
United States
October 7, 2010 8:08am CST
Have you ever been on one? There are quite a few out there. Most of the time up here, the Drs. just give you meds and once your blood levels get low on potassium, they prescribe potassium pills, too. But if you eat 5 fruits, 5 veggies, and 5 grains a day,you are less likely to have low levels of potassium. I was taught that low levels of potassium could mean that your heart will quit. Why? Because I was taught that the message for year heart to beat rides with the potassium (for lack of a better explanation). But here, they just tell you to eat a banana or orange in the morning. But diuretics that often take potassium out of your system often work past your breakfast. Also many people with high blood pressure here also have diabetes and bananas as well as oranges are high in sugar. I have watched many people start out on blood pressure meds and have to add potassium pills. Why aren't doctors talking to people about how much potassium there is in potatoes? Other foods? Why aren't they telling them to eat potassium rich foods from a chart throughout the day? I've been on blood pressure meds for a long time now and they're amazed that my potassium levels stay normal. But that's because I did ressearch and because of the Dr. in the newspaper. A book with the PAMM diet and a chart with the DASH diet (pam has nothing to do with the cooking spray and dash has nothing to do with Mrs. Dash spices) have that potssium levels should be double the salt levels and salt shouldn't be added to food. DASH is nice because it has a normal American diet, for example, oatmeal, strawberries, milk for breakfast. PAMM is nice for special occasions because it will have figs, dates, etc. it's more of a Pacific Island, Asian, mediterain bunch of meals as well as some American stuff. DASH for every day and the PAMM book when I want Chineese or when I want a desert works for me. Some people would work it the other way around or vary it more or less. But don't you think it's better to add high potassium foods throughout the day than to add a potassium pill?
1 person likes this
2 responses
• Canada
7 Oct 10
Hi writersedge, I have never been on a hypertension diet but have prepared food for those with different health conditions including hypertension. Low levels of potassim in our bodies can be very dangerous. Certain health conditions deplete our stores of potasium and although they often still tell you to consume foods that contain potassim it is rarely enough to bring your levels up to a constant and safe level because whatever disease or condition you have keeps depleting the potassium quicker than you can replace it. In those cases you would have to take suppliments. The kidneys are the regulators of potassium so if the kidneys are overtaxed then potassium is likely being dumped into the urine. Bottom line is that you cannot possibly eat enough potassium rich food to keep that level constant when you have a condition which depletes potassium and therefor your potassium level would always be dipping into low levels which can be dangerous. It is always best in these cases to take suppliments. Salt (sodium) regulates how much water stays within the body and how much is dumped into the urine, this can have huge effects on hypertension and\or blood pressure. I think it is best to follow whatever guideline your daoctor has set for you reagarding salt intake. But in healthy individals with no conditions effecting the level of potassium, then yes I think consumption of foods high in potassium are the best way to go.
@writersedge (22579)
• United States
7 Oct 10
I disagree.There are people who have kept their levels of potasium up and not needed supplements. My Dr. says my potasium levels are fine because I eat a lot of potassium foods throughout the day. Diuretics dump potasium, but if they thought diet didn't help, then why even suggest oranges and bananas? The problem is they tell people to eat a banana or an orange at breakfast like that will be the answer, yet most people here are diabetic and it messes with their sugar. Also the diruetics mess with potasuim levels throughout the day, not just in the morning, right after taking the diuretic. Two diets, DASH and PAMM, both by Doctors and the first one by researchers says that potasium levels can be maintained if you keep 2xs the amount of potassium in your diet to salt. After I spoke to my hypertension Dr. about the DASH diet, he was impressed that I knew about it, and was using it so well to keep my potassium levels up. NO Thanks to him, he never spoke of it. My regular Doctor thought it was great that the urologist has spoken to me about it, but he didn't. I spoke to the Dr. My regular Dr. believes in diet, but my urologist doesn't. My regular Dr. is slim and on a diet and my age. My urologist is obese and our age and didn't say a thing about diet for over a year, I researched and approached it. Now, my friend comes to me and says that her Dr. told her to do a hypertension diet and I asked her what one and she didn't know. So I printed out the DASH one and loaned her my PAMM book because these idiots up here tell you to go do something and don't tell you how. My brother was diagnosed with diabetes and told, "Don't eat sugar, loose weight." Good-bye. Like my parents were told they had hypertension, "Don't eat salt, have a banana or orange with breakfast, come back in a month for blood tests." That's the information we get up here. You have this, go do that, take a pill, come back in a month, we'll do tests and give you more pills. They used to give you a diabetic diet or send you to a nutritionist, but now they don't. My brother is in his 40s and on soooo many pills it is unbelievable. My Dad, they gave blood pressure pills to, then diabetic insulin ones and every month, they upped both because both were high. Then they said they could do nothing for him because he was on the strongest of both and they couldn't regulate them. So my Mom looked them up in a PDR and found out that the side-effect of the blood pressure meds was higher sugar and the side effect of the diabetic meds was higher blood pressure. So they changed his meds, but put the new meds on a high level that my Dad didn't need (should have been the level before the meds made him spiral upward) and they almost killed him. If a person has kidney damage, I agree with you. But if they have hypertension just because they're fat or don't have proper diet and exercise, that's different. One of my brothers dieted and exercised for a while and didn't need the pills, any of them. Follow what guideline my Dr. gave me? He only said don't add salt to food or buy food with salt added. No guidelines about how much salt/sodium or how much potassium that is naturally in food that I need. You have most of our Drs. confused with ones that give a dang or know something or even care. They have 100 patients in a day for 3 Drs., you're in and out like they're building a car (assembly line patients). Unless you know what questions to ask and hurry up and ask them, you get nothing. My brother was in shock and denial when they said high blood pressure and diabetes. So they just told him to read labels, keep the salt and sugar down. There are no labels on sausage for how much salt and sugar and he eats that all the time. Does that sound like he got good medical advice? Then his girlfriend asked about going to see a dietician, "Your insurance won't pay for that."
1 person likes this
• Canada
9 Oct 10
Sorry, I did not realize that medical care was that bad in the US. Here if you need a consult with a dietician or specialist for a medical reason then medicare pays for it and that would include hypertension from being too big around the middle. The only reason medicare would not pay for a dietician is if you just wanted to lose weight and had no medical reason to make it a serious concern. Good doctors here consider teaching a part of their job and you get even more teaching from the nurses and doctors at the free clinics they hold at the hospital for certain conditions. I'm not saying we don't have bad doctors, we do, but if you don't get the teaching you need from your doctor he refers you to a clinic and most time you get both. Hypertension is taken serious in Canada because it can lead to more serious problems when left unproperly treated and they always investigate what the underlaying cause is as there is always one. What I don't understand is that if medical care is so bad in the US why is there such a fight down there against the type of medicare that is available here in Canada? There are some things here not covered, such as prescriptions, but overall most is covered through our system, even hospital stays. We do not have a perfect system, I don't think there is such a thing, but we do have a good one.
1 person likes this
@writersedge (22579)
• United States
9 Oct 10
It ranges between the rich and the poor. In the USA, we've heard horror stories of how bad it is in Canada, mostly perpetuated by insurance companies that want us to not have a national healthcare system. Things were different, but the companies are now under orders to cut costs. There is a lot of unnecessary medical stuff going on here. In short, it's a mess.
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@GardenGerty (103898)
• United States
7 Oct 10
I have always felt that I preserve my health more by eating healthy than by taking meds. I do take quite a few vitamins, when my act is really together. I like fruits and vegetables and most all grains. I am using kelp and other flavorings instead of as much salt. I am fortunate that even if I have a weight problem, my blood pressure is actually less than it was a couple of years ago.
@writersedge (22579)
• United States
7 Oct 10
My weight has pushed it up. I have tried to loose weight. Not working. I have recently found out that many in my family have thyroid problems. That usually equals weight gain and high blood pressure both. But with $80 co-pay, I don't have enought $ to go get tested.