Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Low Potassium Causes High Blood Pressure

Low levels of potassium in the diet may be as important as high levels of sodium as a risk factor for high blood pressure, especially among African Americans.

A new study suggests that low potassium may be a particularly important contributor to high blood pressure, and also identifies a gene that may influence potassium's effects on blood pressure. Researchers analyzed data on approximately 3,300 subjects, about half of whom were African American. The results showed that the amount of potassium in urine samples was strongly related to blood pressure. The lower the potassium in the urine, and therefore in the diet, the higher the blood pressure.

The relationship between low potassium and high blood pressure remained significant even when other cardiovascular risk factors such as high cholesterol, diabetes, and smoking were taken into account.

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