Potassium- No longer a hemlock for renal patients

It was just an another normal day for me, after completing my hectic schedule for the day, I had just returned home. Going through the daily news and relaxing with a cup of tea. Suddenly I received a call from one of my patients, Ayush Sharma (real name not revealed). I received the phone, it was his anxious mother on the other end, helplessly seeking solution for her only son who was complaining of sudden uneasiness. Ayush is under my care for last 6/7 month ; otherwise he was doing well . I asked him to get his blood pressure and pulse checked. It was more or less normal but his chest discomfort and uneasiness worsened as time passed.

I asked his parents to admit him without awaiting to my hospital immediately which was just a few minutes drive from their home but on the way, he collapsed ; in the emergency all efforts of resuscitation went in vain. A young promising engineer lost his life in seconds. At this point you may be wondering what happened to Ayush …. yes Ayush was renal failure patient at it was detected at very early age ; he was just 25 years old . With my treatment and dialysis He was maintaining a quite a good health with no serious complications. He was an aspiring engineer and health challenges could not stop him. He was motivated and was in the process of getting his renal transplantation done soon. To my dismay I was unable to recognise why this a young youth had to face such fatal consequences whom I have seen a week ago and was in apparently excellent health. In few hours I was informed that blood sample drawn at the emergency revealed his potassium level was 8 mEq/lit; which was alarmingly high and incompatible with life. When his parents were enquired, I got to know that he had noodles with plenty of tomato ketchup in the evening. His mother was unaware that tomato ketchup is extremely high in potassium.

Ignorance of the fact that tomato ketchup contains a high potassium , and is not allowed in a dialysis patient took the life of this young promising engineer. This is not an isolated incidence ; Every year many of my patients specially during winter season suffer from hyperkalemia just due to their ignorance about potassium content of different foods vegetables which are available in this season ; and hyperkalemia often leads to cardiac arrest. Because of that Potassium is considered hemlock for renal patients. Diabetic and diabetic nephropathy patients are equally army risk of hyperkalemic emergency . I was thinking what can I do to prevent these serous but preventable complications for all CKD Pts .Lives every patients are valuable ; to prevent similar incidents from me and my team designed an unique potassium calculator that will calculate the potassium content in your food. Not only calculate it will give you an alert for any abnormaly high potassium intake through diet.

Patients with kidney disease are very much sensitive to even minimally high potassium intake ; hence I feel this will be of immense help for all CKD Pts. Most often they are in a dilemma what to eat and what to avoid. A kidney-friendly diet means restriction of sodium, potassium and phosphorus. A potassium restricted diet allows only 1500mg of potassium per day. Most of the foods we consume in our daily diet contains different amounts of potassium. This calculator will guide you on what to eat and the ones that can harm you. Based on your serum potassium value the calculator with assist you to choose safe food item for you. For further assistance, we have kept a excellent option for direct interaction with our experienced renal dieticians online 24X7 through the same app. The tool has artificial intelligence assisted chat facilities to solve your any query.

The blood potassium level needs to be maintained at 3.5-5.5 mEq/L. Kidneys help in maintaining this balance. We need to keep in mind that like high potassium; low potassium is also risky. Low potassium is an important cause of muscles weakness often leads to quadriparesis or weakness of all four limbs. For patients especially with renal impairment, potassium is a double edged sword, too high or too low a level both are dangerous.

We cannot live without eating, we need to eat food. And what you eat and drink affects your health. A kidney-friendly diet limits certain food to prevent some nutrients like potassium in those foods to build up in your body. A clear knowledge will help you tackle the hemlock and save you from fatal consequences. Due to this diet restrictions many kidney disease patients are often worried what to have and have a misconception that they should always have bland food. I have launched the potassium calculator that will help you calculate potassium content in your food and recipes. This is the first and only calculator available at present that calculates potassium levels of your foods. This calculator helps you to identify foods that are safe for you based on your blood potassium level and also denotes which ones to avoid. And a constant online support from renal dieticians will also be available to those who subscribe for the Potassium bundle. Along with the calculator, we bring to you 25 low potassium lip smacking recipes that any kidney patient can enjoy. The package includes detailed description of Potassium as a hemlock for CKD patients and a guide on management of hypo- and hyperkalemia. It is a complete solution to all the challenges of potassium imbalance in CKD patients. Further details are available in the link below-


Published by Dr.Pratim Sengupta

Dr. Pratim Sengupta thinks of himself as conscious, living, soulful being with an inner urge to break the inertia of life. He feels that life is nothing but a material expression of the Supreme Almighty Consciousness. His conscious existence empowered him to see, to hear, to talk, to interact, to feel, to dream, to ask questions, and to seek solutions to every problem. In the flow of life, as he grew up, he understood that knowledge of life is the only way to understand the scientific basis of conscious existence. Hence Dr. Sengupta felt the urge to study the science of life – i.e. Medicine. After he completed his higher secondary education from the Ramakrishna Mission Vidyamandira in Belurmath, he joined the MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery) course at RG Kar Medical College, Kolkata. The professional packaging of knowledge in terms of a time-bound, goal-oriented syllabus frustrated him a bit, but nevertheless ignited the urge within him to study further. He thus went on to his post-graduation (MD) in Medicine from IPGMER and SSKM Hospital, Kolkata. During his MD training, he got a glimpse of the vastness of knowledge, and the quest to learn precisely the facts of life narrowed down his area of interest to the functioning of the kidneys and the specialisation of Nephrology – a discipline that is complex, yet relatively new and still evolving in terms of complete understanding of renal physiology and pathology. So, Dr. Sengupta decided to study and train for the DM (Doctorate of Medicine) degree in Nephrology. Right from the start of his career, Dr. Sengupta was passionate about Research. During the MD programme he worked on Cirrhotic Cardiomyopathy, Autonomic Neuropathy of Lupus, and Insulin resistance in Diabetics. All these research studies were published in national journals. During his postdoctoral study in Nephrology, he worked on Hemodialysis efficiency, and suggested an angular placement of the Dialyser in order to increase efficiency. This innovative concept was accepted for presentation at the World Congress of Nephrology, Milan, in 2009, and also published in Hemodialysis International. Dr. Sengupta also worked on Plasmapheresis – a blood filtering technique by which toxic and pathogenic immunoglobulins can be removed from the body. He studied the role of Prethymectomy Plasmapheresis in Myasthenia Gravis patients, and his findings were published in the journal Interactive Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery. The patient-empowered nutritional model for nutritional care of kidney patients is another interesting and innovative area in which Dr. Sengupta has worked for quite a long time. Dr.Pratim Sengupta won the Bharat Jyoti award for his excellency in the field of medicine. He is also the president of our non-governmental organization, The Kidney Care Society. His tireless contribution to provide quality living for his patients is worth mentioning. He introduced Mukti, blending ancient Indian yoga with modern medicine for well being of every patient. He has also introduced an unique online course "Art of Living with diabetes" which is a complete solution to diabetes management. He has authored many books, blogs, for the patients. Searching and researching for solutions to problems in the field of Nephrology remains the passion and dream of Dr. Pratim Sengupta, and he intends to persist on this journey as long as he is conscious. Meanwhile, even as he pursues his dreams, Dr. Sengupta diligently puts into practice all he has learned about Nephrology over the years, at the Belle Vue Clinic in Kolkata and ILS hospital,Dumdum where he is available for his patient

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