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General Medical Questions
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Question : What is the effect of taking foods high in potassium in a person with kidney disease?
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The Trusted Source
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Howard LeWine, M.D.

Howard LeWine, M.D., is chief editor of Internet Publishing, Harvard Health Publications. He is a clinical instructor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital. Dr. LeWine has been a primary care internist and teacher of internal medicine since 1978.

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May 19, 2014
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Normally functioning kidneys do a great job keeping the serum potassium level less than 5.0 milliequivalents per liter. But people with kidney disease can’t readily get rid of extra potassium. So, eating lots of potassium rich foods can cause blood levels to rise above the normal range.

A high blood potassium level interferes with the normal electrical activity of the heart. A very high level can cause the heart to stop pumping.

That’s why a person with kidney disease is often told to avoid certain foods. Here is a list of foods that have high potassium content.

 

Food (serving)

Potassium (milligrams)

Potato with skin, baked (1 medium)

926

Halibut, baked (4 ounces)

654

Raisins (1/2 cup)

543

Banana (medium)

451

Acorn squash, cooked (1/2 cup)

448

Spinach, cooked (1/2 cup)

419

Tomato sauce (1/2 cup)

405

Lentils, cooked (1/2 cup)

365

Cantaloupe (1/4 medium)

365

Kidney beans, cooked (1/2 cup)

356

Orange juice (6 ounces)

354

Bran breakfast cereal (1/2 cup)

340

Milk, low-fat 1% (1 cup)

290

Orange (1 whole)

260

 

 

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