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Dietary potassium may help prevent kidney and heart problems in diabetics

American Society of Nephrology

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  • Higher levels of urinary potassium excretion, which closely correlate with intake amounts, were linked with a slower decline of kidney function and a lower incidence of cardiovascular complications among patients with type 2 diabetes and normal kidney function.

Kidney failure and heart disease are common life-threatening complications of diabetes.

Washington, DC (November 12, 2015) -- Diets rich in potassium may help protect the heart and kidney health of patients with type 2 diabetes, according to a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (CJASN).

Individuals with type 2 diabetes are at increased risk of developing kidney failure and heart disease. To examine whether higher intake sodium and potassium are associated with these risks, Shin-ichi Araki, MD, PhD (Shiga University of Medical Science, in Japan) and his colleagues studied a group of 623 patients with type 2 diabetes and normal kidney function. Patients were enrolled between 1996 and 2003 and were followed-up until 2013.

Higher levels of urinary potassium excretion, which closely correlate with intake amounts, were linked with a slower decline of kidney function and a lower incidence of cardiovascular complications. Sodium levels were not associated with kidney or heart health during follow-up.

"For many individuals with diabetes, the most challenging part of a treatment plan is to determine what to eat. The results in our study highlight the importance of a diet high in in diabetes nutrition therapy," said Dr. Araki.

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Study authors include Masakazu Haneda, MD, PhD, Daisuke Koya, MD, PhD, Keiko Kondo, PhD, Sachiko Tanaka, PhD, Hisatomi Arima, MD, PhD, Shinji Kume, MD, PhD , Jun Nakazawa, MD, PhD , Masami Chin-Kanasaki, MD, PhD, Satoshi Ugi, MD, PhD, Hiromichi Kawai, MD, PhD, Hisazumi Araki, MD, PhD, Takashi Uzu, MD, PhD, and Hiroshi Maegawa, MD, PhD.

Disclosures: This study was supported in part by a Grant-in-Aid for Diabetic Nephropathy and Nephrosclerosis Research from Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare of Japan (S. Araki), a Grant-in-Aid for Research on Diabetic Kidney Disease, from the Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development (S. Araki), the Salt Science Research Foundation, Grant No. 1317 (T. Uzu), and research grants from AstraZeneca and MSD K.K (for Shiga Prospective Observational Follow-up Study).

The article, entitled "Urinary Potassium Excretion and Renal and Cardiovascular Complications in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes and Normal Renal Function," will appear online at http://cjasn.asnjournals.org/ on November 12, 2015. doi: 10.2215/CJN.00980115

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Founded in 1966, and with nearly 16,000 members, the American Society of Nephrology (ASN) leads the fight against kidney disease by educating health professionals, sharing new knowledge, advancing research, and advocating the highest quality care for patients.

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