Hypothyroidism and Potassium – What Role Does Potassium Have With Hypothyroidism.

July 22, 2013 No Comments by Rusty Doyle
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Hypothyroidism and PotassiumLocated at the neck, the thyroid gland is in charge of thyroid hormone production which assists in healing to maintain a rate of metabolism that is considered normal. It also controls the maturation of brain cells, the regulation of bone growth and facilitation of protein synthesis.

Low thyroid hormone in the blood is considered to be hypothyroidism. Associated with reduced potassium excretion of the urinary, when there is a hormone replacement in patients who are hypothyroidism, there is an increase in the excretion of urinary potassium.


Hypothyroidism and Low Potassium: The Regulation of Potassium

In cells, potassium happens to be the most abundant electrolyte that is positively charged. Constantly, it leaves cells without adequate potassium replacement or adequate urinary potassium excretion control. For this reason, a potassium excess could be lost by the body.

In response to an adrenal gland production of the steroid hormone aldosterone, the kidneys need to adjust urinary potassium excretion rates. In elevated blood levels of potassium and in hyperkalemia, aldosterone is released. This causes an increase in urinary potassium excretion.

Potassium and Hypothyroidism:  Hyperkalemia and Hypothyroidism

Since urinary potassium excretion can be slowed down by hypothyroidism and potassium, there are specific conditions that tend to result in potassium getting released into the blood resulting in hyperkalemia. On the other hand, hyperkalemia that is related to hypothyroidism does not result from the dysfunction of the kidneys.

The fact is, a different mechanism not involving kidneys that are dysfunctional result in hyperkalemia that is related to hypothyroidism. One study revealed that hypothyroid dogs that exercised could induce hyperkalemia. In human patients who are hypothyroidism, the same effects may occur.

Hypothyroidism and High Potassium: Hyperkalemia Symptoms

Levels of potassium that are mildly elevated may not be related with any symptoms. On the other hand, severe or moderate potassium level elevation is associated frequently with symptoms. Often, hyperkalemia is the result of an elevation of blood pressure. The various hyperkalemia symptoms include vomiting, nausea, shortness of breath, paralysis, numbness, general weakness, tiredness and irregular heartbeat.

Low Potassium and Hypothyroidism: Hypothyroidism Symptoms

Since the hormones of the thyroid control the rate of metabolism, low levels of the thyroid hormone tend to result in decreased synthesis and breakdown of energy producing nutrients. Due to the reduction in the production in energy, a hypothyroid person experiences general weakness and fatigue.

Other symptoms of this condition include depression, brittle fingernails, heavy menstrual bleeding, weight gain, constipation and the voice being hoarse. When hypothyroidism is caused by a dysfunction in the thyroid, this can sometimes lead to thyroid enlargement or goiter.

Hypothyroidism and Potassium Deficiency: Potassium Supplements

Most people take supplements without truly understanding what they are consuming. For example, potassium does play a vital role in the electrolyte and fluid balance of the body including vital functions such as neuron transmission. Within the cell, potassium happens to be the main intra-cellular cation.

Aside from playing a big role in balancing electrolytes and fluid, potassium is also necessary for converting glucose into glycogen and polarization of membranes, hormone secretion and muscle contraction. Since this is important with regards to electrolyte and fluid balance, it also helps in blood pressure regulation.

If a person happens to be potassium deficient, symptoms may appear that include muscle spasms, tachycardia, blood pressure increase, palpitation, vomiting, nausea, weakness and fatigue.

Potassium Deficiency and Hypothyroidism: Potassium Deficiency in Hypothyroids

Someone who has hypothyroidism and is deficient in potassium may potentially experience exacerbated cardiac symptoms. For this reason, it is important that sufficient potassium amounts be taken. On the other end of the spectrum too much is not a good thing either.

Potassium in large doses can lead to gastro-intestinal symptoms and diarrhea. Plus too much blood potassium is hyperkalemia which can lead to arrhythmias of the heart. In healthy individuals, this is quite rare. On the other hand, with persons taking beta blockers or other medications as well as those with renal insufficiency and other conditions of the endocrines, it is a possibility.

Hypothyroidism Low Potassium: Potassium Food Sources

There are many great potassium sources from food that includes legumes, fish, poultry, meat, dairy products, spinach, squash, avocados, apples, grapefruit and bananas. Keep in mind that up to fifty percent potassium is lost in these types of food if they are boiled. Thus, it is preferable to steam food and vegetables for the potassium to be preserved.

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Hypothyroidism and Potassium


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