Hyperkalemia : High Blood Potassium means an abnormally elevated level of Potassium in the Blood

Hyperkalemia : High Blood Potassium  Means An Abnormally Elevated Level Of Potassium In The Blood

Hyperkalemia : High Blood Potassium Means An Abnormally Elevated Level Of Potassium In The Blood

Hyperkalemia : High Blood Potassium Means An Abnormally Elevated Level Of Potassium In The Blood

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Hyperkalemia : High Blood Potassium Means An Abnormally Elevated Level Of Potassium In The Blood

heart-disease - Hyperkalemia : High Blood Potassium  Means An Abnormally Elevated Level Of Potassium In The Blood

Hyperkalemia : High Blood Potassium Means An Abnormally Elevated Level Of Potassium In The Blood

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Hyperkalemia : High Blood Potassium Means An Abnormally Elevated Level Of Potassium In The Blood

Hyperkalemia : High Blood Potassium Means An Abnormally Elevated Level Of Potassium In The Blood

1 - Hyperkalemia : High Blood Potassium  Means An Abnormally Elevated Level Of Potassium In The Blood 2 - Hyperkalemia : High Blood Potassium  Means An Abnormally Elevated Level Of Potassium In The Blood 3 - Hyperkalemia : High Blood Potassium  Means An Abnormally Elevated Level Of Potassium In The Blood
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Hyperkalemia
(High Blood Potassium)

Medical Author:
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Medical Editor:
William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
What is hyperkalemia?
How does hyperkalemia affect the body?
What are the symptoms of hyperkalemia?
What causes hyperkalemia?
Kidney dysfunction
Diseases of the adrenal gland
Potassium shifts
Medications
How is hyperkalemia diagnosed?
How is hyperkalemia treated?
Related hyperkalemia (high sodium blood levels) article: Hyperkalemia – on eMedicineHealth
Patient Comments: Hyperkalemia – How Was Diagnosis Established
Find a local Internist in your town

What is hyperkalemia?

Hyperkalemia is common; it is diagnosed in up to 8% of hospitalized patients in the U.S. Fortunately, most patients have mild hyperkalemia (which is usually well tolerated). However, any condition causing even mild hyperkalemia should be treated to prevent progression into more severe hyperkalemia. Extremely high levels of potassium in the blood (severe hyperkalemia) can lead to cardiac arrest and death. When not recognized and treated properly, severe hyperkalemia results in a mortality rate of about 67%.

Technically, hyperkalemia means an abnormally elevated level of potassium in the blood. The normal potassium level in the blood is 3.5-5.0 milliequivalents per liter (mEq/L). Potassium levels between 5.1 mEq/L to 6.0 mEq/L reflect mild hyperkalemia. Potassium levels of 6.1 mEq/L to 7.0 mEq/L are moderate hyperkalemia, and levels above 7 mEq/L are severe hyperkalemia.

How does hyperkalemia affect the body?

Potassium is critical for the normal functioning of the muscles, heart, and nerves. It plays an important role in controlling activity of smooth muscle (such as the muscle found in the digestive tract) and skeletal muscle (muscles of the extremities and torso), as well as the muscles of the heart. It is also important for normal transmission of electrical signals throughout the nervous system within the body.

Normal blood levels of potassium are critical for maintaining normal heart electrical rhythm. Both low blood potassium levels (hypokalemia) and high blood potassium levels (hyperkalemia) can lead to abnormal heart rhythms.

The most important clinical effect of hyperkalemia is related to electrical rhythm of the heart. While mild hyperkalemia probably has a limited effect on the heart, moderate hyperkalemia can produce EKG changes (EKG is an electrical reading of the heart muscles), and severe hyperkalemia can cause suppression of electrical activity of the heart and can cause the heart to stop beating.

Another important effect of hyperkalemia is interference with functioning of the skeletal muscles. Hyperkalemic periodic paralysis is a rare inherited disorder in which patients can develop sudden onset of hyperkalemia which in turn causes muscle paralysis. The reason for the muscle paralysis is not clearly understood, but it is probably due to hyperkalemia suppressing the electrical activity of the muscle.

What are the symptoms of hyperkalemia?

Hyperkalemia can be asymptomatic, meaning that it causes no symptoms. Sometimes, patients with hyperkalemia report vague symptoms including:

nausea,
fatigue,
muscle weakness, or
tingling sensations.
More serious symptoms of hyperkalemia include slow heartbeat and weak pulse. Severe hyperkalemia can result in fatal cardiac standstill (heart stoppage). Generally, a slowly rising potassium level (such as with chronic kidney failure) is better tolerated than an abrupt rise in potassium levels. Unless the rise in potassium has been very rapid, symptoms of hyperkalemia are usually not apparent until potassium levels are very high (typically 7.0 mEq/l or higher).

Symptoms may also be present that reflect the underlying medical conditions that are causing the hyperkalemia.

What causes hyperkalemia?

The major causes of hyperkalemia are kidney dysfunction, diseases of the adrenal gland, potassium sifting out of cells into the blood circulation, and medications.

Kidney dysfunction

Potassium is normally excreted by the kidneys, so disorders that decrease the function of the kidneys can result in hyperkalemia. These include:

acute and chronic renal failure,
glomerulonephritis,
lupus nephritis,
transplant rejection, and
obstructive diseases of the urinary tract, such as urolithiasis (stones in the urinary tract).
Furthermore, patients with kidney dysfunctions are especially sensitive to medications that can increase blood potassium levels. For example, patients with kidney dysfunctions can develop worsening hyperkalemia when given salt substitutes that contain potassium, when given potassium supplements (either orally or intravenously), or medications that can increase blood potassium levels. Examples of medications that can increase blood potassium levels include:

ACE inhibitors,
nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs),
Angiotensin II Receptor Blockers (ARBs), and
potassium-sparing diuretics

Hyperkalemia : High Blood Potassium means an abnormally elevated level of Potassium in the Blood

Hyperkalemia
(High Blood Potassium)

Medical Author:
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Medical Editor:
William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
What is hyperkalemia?
How does hyperkalemia affect the body?
What are the symptoms of hyperkalemia?
What causes hyperkalemia?
Kidney dysfunction
Diseases of the adrenal gland
Potassium shifts
Medications
How is hyperkalemia diagnosed?
How is hyperkalemia treated?
Related hyperkalemia (high sodium blood levels) article: Hyperkalemia - on eMedicineHealth
Patient Comments: Hyperkalemia - How Was Diagnosis Established
Find a local Internist in your town

What is hyperkalemia?

Hyperkalemia is common; it is diagnosed in up to 8% of hospitalized patients in the U.S. Fortunately, most patients have mild hyperkalemia (which is usually well tolerated). However, any condition causing even mild hyperkalemia should be treated to prevent progression into more severe hyperkalemia. Extremely high levels of potassium in the blood (severe hyperkalemia) can lead to cardiac arrest and death. When not recognized and treated properly, severe hyperkalemia results in a mortality rate of about 67%.

Technically, hyperkalemia means an abnormally elevated level of potassium in the blood. The normal potassium level in the blood is 3.5-5.0 milliequivalents per liter (mEq/L). Potassium levels between 5.1 mEq/L to 6.0 mEq/L reflect mild hyperkalemia. Potassium levels of 6.1 mEq/L to 7.0 mEq/L are moderate hyperkalemia, and levels above 7 mEq/L are severe hyperkalemia.


How does hyperkalemia affect the body?

Potassium is critical for the normal functioning of the muscles, heart, and nerves. It plays an important role in controlling activity of smooth muscle (such as the muscle found in the digestive tract) and skeletal muscle (muscles of the extremities and torso), as well as the muscles of the heart. It is also important for normal transmission of electrical signals throughout the nervous system within the body.

Normal blood levels of potassium are critical for maintaining normal heart electrical rhythm. Both low blood potassium levels (hypokalemia) and high blood potassium levels (hyperkalemia) can lead to abnormal heart rhythms.

The most important clinical effect of hyperkalemia is related to electrical rhythm of the heart. While mild hyperkalemia probably has a limited effect on the heart, moderate hyperkalemia can produce EKG changes (EKG is an electrical reading of the heart muscles), and severe hyperkalemia can cause suppression of electrical activity of the heart and can cause the heart to stop beating.

Another important effect of hyperkalemia is interference with functioning of the skeletal muscles. Hyperkalemic periodic paralysis is a rare inherited disorder in which patients can develop sudden onset of hyperkalemia which in turn causes muscle paralysis. The reason for the muscle paralysis is not clearly understood, but it is probably due to hyperkalemia suppressing the electrical activity of the muscle.

What are the symptoms of hyperkalemia?

Hyperkalemia can be asymptomatic, meaning that it causes no symptoms. Sometimes, patients with hyperkalemia report vague symptoms including:

nausea,
fatigue,
muscle weakness, or
tingling sensations.
More serious symptoms of hyperkalemia include slow heartbeat and weak pulse. Severe hyperkalemia can result in fatal cardiac standstill (heart stoppage). Generally, a slowly rising potassium level (such as with chronic kidney failure) is better tolerated than an abrupt rise in potassium levels. Unless the rise in potassium has been very rapid, symptoms of hyperkalemia are usually not apparent until potassium levels are very high (typically 7.0 mEq/l or higher).

Symptoms may also be present that reflect the underlying medical conditions that are causing the hyperkalemia.


What causes hyperkalemia?

The major causes of hyperkalemia are kidney dysfunction, diseases of the adrenal gland, potassium sifting out of cells into the blood circulation, and medications.


Kidney dysfunction

Potassium is normally excreted by the kidneys, so disorders that decrease the function of the kidneys can result in hyperkalemia. These include:

acute and chronic renal failure,
glomerulonephritis,
lupus nephritis,
transplant rejection, and
obstructive diseases of the urinary tract, such as urolithiasis (stones in the urinary tract).
Furthermore, patients with kidney dysfunctions are especially sensitive to medications that can increase blood potassium levels. For example, patients with kidney dysfunctions can develop worsening hyperkalemia when given salt substitutes that contain potassium, when given potassium supplements (either orally or intravenously), or medications that can increase blood potassium levels. Examples of medications that can increase blood potassium levels include:

ACE inhibitors,
nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs),
Angiotensin II Receptor Blockers (ARBs), and
potassium-sparing diuretics

6 thoughts on “Hyperkalemia : High Blood Potassium means an abnormally elevated level of Potassium in the Blood

  1. I was wondering you said your fathers potassium levels were around 6. Thats
    what mine was its now down to 3.5. I was wondering if your Dad experienced
    facial numbness and is he still because i am and searching for answers.

  2. Hey kaleb ..he never have a numbness experience so maybe u should check ur
    sugar level too an if ur sodium level too ..wish u are ok

  3. I fayadg,pharmaciest ,iwanna practice of my English face to face with
    foreign native English speaker ,if you would like to practice let’s get
    started on my Skype “fayadhali 1” or what’s up 967733237324♡

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