Potassium - An essential mineral

Potassium is one of the very essential minerals for the human body.
It is a cation, most abundant inside the body cells.
Potassium is an electrolyte like sodium and calcium and is important for passing of nerve impulses in the nervous system.
It is important for osmoregulation and fluid balance maintenance in the cells and the blood.
Adrenal functions, muscular actions and renal functions depend on its availability.
This mineral also has a very important role in metabolism of proteins and carbohydrates.
Its deficiency, otherwise known as hypokalemia, show symptoms like generalized weakness, dry skin, muscle weakness and slow reflexes. 
The level of this mineral in the body is regulated by the kidneys.
Hypokalemia occurs in cases of severe vomiting and diarrhea, in usage of diuretics without proper monitoring, in diabetes without control and in alcoholism.
In case of sudden depletion of this mineral, heart problems will be encountered and if not replenished quickly heat failure and death can occur.
A balanced diet fulfills the requirements of potassium.
Excesses of potassium is excreted by the kidneys.
High potassium levels in the blood or hyperkalemia is experienced by people with impaired kidney function or severe infection.
Fish, meat, potatoes, tomatoes, green leafy vegetables, dry fruits and most of the fruits (especially banana) are good sources of potassium.
In hypertension treatment potassium supplement is used to replace harmful excess sodium.

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