Potassium Intake and Stroke Risk
A Review of the Evidence and Practical Considerations for Achieving a Minimum Target
In recognition of a growing body of evidence in support of the benefits of increasing potassium (K+) intake, the World Health Organization (WHO) has, for the first time, issued recommendations for a target daily dietary intake for K+ of ≥90 mmol (conversion for potassium (K+) 1 mmol=39 mg, for sodium (Na+) 1 mmol=17 mg) for adults.1 In doing so, they state that “the successful implementation of these recommendations would have an important public health impact through reductions in morbidity and mortality, improvement in the quality of life for millions of people, and substantial reductions in health-care costs.” This article reviews the evidence underpinning this recent guidance with specific emphasis placed on reduction of stroke risk. It also briefly explores the methods by which this target may be achieved in those at high risk of stroke.
Stroke and Blood Pressure Lowering
Stroke is the third most common cause of death in developed countries and annually, accounts for 10% of all deaths worldwide.2 Of the 15 million strokes happening each year, 5 million are fatal and another 5 million result in permanent disability.2 Stroke is the principal cause of acquired disability, the second cause of dementia, and the fourth cause of disease burden.3 The economic burden of stroke is high and, because of aging populations and increasing prevalence of stroke risk factors, is almost certain to increase.3 Prevention is key to reducing both the personal and economic burden of stroke and could dramatically ameliorate the rate of death and disablement if effectively implemented.
Long-term blood pressure (BP) lowering after stroke or TIA confers substantial benefit to both hypertensive and normotensive patients by reducing the risk of recurrent stroke and other vascular events.4,5 Presently, for secondary prevention of stroke, achieving a target BP of 130/80 mm …