Potassium and Blood Pressure: How to Test the Effect of DASH Diet in Your Patient With Hypertension


This article reviews the 50+ year history of increasing potassium intake (K) in the treatment of hypertension (HTN). It then reviews the DASH Diet eating plan as an intervention to lower blood pressure (BP) by both increasing K intake and lowering NA intake. The term DASH Diet Sensitive (DDS) HTN is used to describe those whose BP decreases significantly when consuming the DASH Diet. A method to determine your patient’s BP is outlined that has been found to be effective even in the most extreme form of salt-sensitive HTN-classic primary aldosteronism. This requires a series of home BP measurements before starting and during the 14 days of the DASH eating plan and checking a spot urine for NA/K/creatinine to monitor adherence. The beauty of this method is that if the patient follows the recommendations exactly, the maximum systolic BP effect is apparent by 1 week and the diastolic in 2 weeks. Thus, only 3 weeks is required to see if this is an effective intervention in your patient’s HTN. If so, the next task is to determine if DASH is an eating plan that your patient (and family) can live with.

Authors: Clarence E. Grim
Keywords: adherence, blood pressure, compliance, DASH diet, home blood pressure, nocturia, nutrition, potassium, sodium, urine NA/K ratio
DOI Number: 10.5005/jp-journals-10043-0068      Publication Year: 2017

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