Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The importance of potassium in our diet

During spring break, I had a very scary experience.. I was talking to my god-sister on the phone, when all of a sudden my right side went totally numb. I could hear myself breathing, but I couldn't feel anything on my right side, including my face. I was trying to talk but nothing was coming out of my mouth. I couldn't even grunt or moan. I tried to stand, but fell back onto the couch. I kept trying to moan, cough...something and finally, after what seemed to be an hour but was actually about 2-3 minutes, I began to hear sounds coming out of my mouth. I was grunting, coughing and finally able to speak. My god-sister was so busy talking that she didn't even realize that I hadn't uttered a word in 2 minutes! lol

Once I was able to talk and told her what happened, she became scared, but I was feeling "normal" at that point. She suggested that I go to the hospital to get checked out. I agreed, however, not before I finished preparing the chicken alfredo I was cooking then I ate. Now I had developed a serious headache so I decided to take a bath. While bathing, my sister called and I told her what happened. She couldn't believe I was taking a bath! Told me to call 911 and get to the hospital. I said ok. Then I began to experience the numbness on my right side again, particularly in my right arm and could not hold the wash cloth. Now I was afraid...and began to cry. I got out of the tub, threw on a sweatsuit and sneaks, said a prayer and drove myself to the hospital.

Once there I didn't have to wait before going into trauma because my blood pressure was now 168/123. They did all these tests and at the end of the day, the cause of what they had diagnosed as a TIA (A transient ischemic attack (TIA) is caused by temporary disturbance of blood supply to an area of the brain, which results in a sudden, brief decrease in brain function. (A decrease in brain function is called a neurologic deficit.)

A TIA is different than a stroke. Unlike from a stroke, a TIA does not cause brain tissue to die. The symptoms of TIAs do not last as long as a stroke and do not show changes on CT or MRI scans. (Strokes usually show changes on such tests.)

Probably caused by the elevated blood pressure, another problem was that my potassium level was 2.0.

I had never really considered potassium, other than eating a banana at least 3 times per week. But now I realize the it is a very important mineral to have in your body.
The heart, one of the body's largest muscles, relies on the mineral, potassium. Our heart muscle depends on a steady supply of potassium to keep it beating rhythmically around the clock. Potassium also regulates the creation and the storage of the muscles' main source of fuel, glycogen. Potassium also assists in the process of converting blood sugar, or glucose, into glycogen.

Research has shown that an increase in the amount of potassium has helped individuals with high blood pressure to lower their blood pressure readings. Among its other benefits is its ability to:

* help relieve pain related to arthritis by removing the pain-causing acids from the affected joints
* relieve the pain associated with headaches and migraines.
* keep the bones from losing mass, a condition that leads to osteoporosis.
* help the lungs expel carbon dioxide, and
* control the water balance in your body

A low level of potassium in the body can result in deficiencies, especially as a result of excessive vomiting, diarrhea, diuretics and laxative misuse. Signs of low potassium levels include:

* irregular heart beat
* poor circulation
* diabetes
* earaches and headaches
* hypertension
* water retention
* nerves and muscles that don't function normally
* a loss of appetite
* fatigue
* insomnia
* nausea
* pain in the abdomen
* a thirst that cannot be quenched, and
* overall feeling of weakness

So potassium is VERY important. I had a migraine headache EVERYDAY from that Tuesday all the way up to the following Tuesday; when I had taken my full prescription of potassium pills.

That was scary. I'm not afraid to die - why be afraid of something that is inevitable? However, I'm not ready to die either.

Here's to our HEALTH!

Reference: http://www.vitamins-for-health.com/Dangers_of_Low_Potassium.html

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