Sodium intake

By clj01 Latest Reply 2011-07-08 19:52:13 -0500
Started 2011-05-12 14:15:03 -0500

This may be a tough one to answer, but I hope someone has an answer. When taking diuretics like Lasix you loose potassium and need a potassium supplement for the loss. Why would you then not need additional sodium in your diet if lab tests show that your sodium level is below the normal range? If I am not mistaken this is not only important when looking at hypertension, but when you are dealing with any heart disease. We are constanly hearing about the added sodium in our foods. Anyone know the answer?

4 replies

AngelynG 2011-07-08 19:52:13 -0500 Report

I go to a CHF Clinic started by my cardiologist. I was given a list of potassium rich foods & how to cut sodium in my diet - I can have 1500-2000 mg of sodium. I limit my fluid intake to 64oz per day. This has kept me on track. I mostly watch for swelling in my ankles & report weight gain of 1-3 #'s in a few days. I use a print-out from Smart on sodium usage & how to reduce without losing too much taste. I do very well if I get 700-800+ mg of potassium per day

CrafterB 2011-05-15 01:07:20 -0500 Report

Hi cljo1,
Diuretics are divided into 2 basic types. There are both potassium (medical term:K+) depleting and K+ sparing diuretics. Lasix IS a K+ depleting diuretic. How it effects a person is unique and has many influencing factors. Your starting K+ level, how much and how often you take your lasix, what your dietary intake of K+ is and does it vary, other medical conditions that may alter your K+ absorption and/or excretion, and even other drugs or herbals you may take.

Your K+ level is important for many bodily functions. It is prescribed for many types of patients, but often for cardiac and renal conditions. It is particularly important to follow because BOTH hypo(low) and hyper(high) levels can cause heart problems. Labs have variable levels of normal depending on their method of testing, but 3.5-5.0 is the approximate normal level. Your MD or lab can tell you the norms within the system that did your lab work.

In general, the higher your Lasix dose and the more frequent the dosing, the more likely you will need K+ supplements. And while there foods known to be higher in K+, it can become difficult to get ALL of your supplementation through food. That said, patients with a high K+ level must frequently avoid these foods in an effort to avoid even higher K+ levels in their blood. It is kind of a catch-22: foods are NOT high enough to use for easy, consist supplementation, but are high enough that patients already taking a supplement, or with a chronically elevated K+ level, must be careful. K+ is excreted through the renal(kidney) system so diseases of this system can also significantly effect both your K+ level and how much restriction or supplementation you need. If you have renal failure you may not clear K+ from your blood as well and thus would need less or no supplements.

As for YOUR level- your MD can tell you what your target K+ level is. While following the dietary recommendations of your MD it is important to be fairly consistent in your consumption of foods that are high or low in K+. As a rule, foods higher in potassium are fruits(yes, the frequently mentioned banana), fresh meats, and some salt substitutes are lower in NA, but higher in K+. This is where a dietician can be a great consult to help you figure out how you can best follow the diet your MD wants for YOU. Your MD will also make recommendations based on other diseases you may have and medications you take.

With this many reasons you can see why it is important to have your blood levels monitored as directed by your MD. There will always be some base level of monitoring and the frequency may increase or decrease over time depending on your medical condition and any changes.

Hope that helps you take of yourself.


HeartHawk 2011-05-14 23:37:31 -0500 Report


Both potassium and sodium depletion have been documented with Lasix and other drugs in the "loop diuretic" class but the effect is wildly different from person to person. We are all unique "chemical laboratories." That is why is is so cruciially important for each of us to study and stay involved in our own healthcare!


flowmaster333 2011-05-13 04:38:18 -0500 Report

I could be wrong but I think lasix doesn't really deplete your potassium levels … I took it for about a year and I just ate bananas more often. Before my diagnosis I rarely ate bananas and I'd say I eat about 3 a week and my last blood test showed me to be right in the mid range of the potassium measurement… That blood test was done about a year ago when I went in for dizzy spells and they took me off my diuretics. I could be wrong but I believe increasing sodium intake is a bad idea.