Potassium plays a vital role in muscle and nerve function, heart health, and fluid balance. When you have too much potassium in your blood, this condition is known as hyperkalemia.
Hyperkalemia can lead to heart palpitations, muscle weakness, and cardiac arrest.
In this post, we will discuss the causes and symptoms of high potassium levels in the blood, and provide you with effective solutions to manage and prevent this life-threatening condition.
What is hyperkalemia?
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Hyperkalemia is when the amount of potassium in the blood is higher than normal. It can be caused by kidney disease, medication side effects, and excessive intake of potassium supplements.
The normal range for potassium in the blood is typically between 3.5 and 5.0 mmol/L. Serum potassium level greater than 5.5 mmol/L is considered high. Extreme high levels of potassium greater than 7 mmol/L can lead to cardiac arrest.
However, the exact normal range may differ slightly depending on the specific laboratory and testing method used.
Causes and symptoms of high potassium levels in the blood
Excessive potassium levels in the blood can occur due to various factors:
- Kidney disease
- Potassium-sparing diuretics
- Adrenal insufficiency
- Transfusion reaction
Symptoms of high potassium levels in the blood:
- Weakness in the muscles
- Irregular heartbeat
- Difficulty breathing
- Chest pain
How to treat hyperkalemia
Hyperkalemia can be a serious medical condition that requires immediate attention. Here are some steps to treat hyperkalemia.
- Stabilize the heart: This can be done through the administration of calcium gluconate
- Dialysis: The most effective way to remove excess potassium in severe cases of hyperkalemia
- Insulin and glucose: Insulin helps move potassium from the blood into cells and glucose helps prevent low blood sugar levels
- Monitor potassium levels: Check regularly to ensure it is within the normal range
Solutions to reduce potassium levels in the blood
If you are showing symptoms of hyperkalemia, here are solutions to reduce potassium levels in your blood:
- Avoid eating high-potassium foods such as bananas, tomatoes, and sweet potatoes. Instead, eat a diet that is low in potassium.
- Drinking more water can help get rid of excess potassium from the body.
- Medications like sodium polystyrene sulfonate can help lower potassium levels.
- Perform serum potassium test to help you know your potassium levels.
You can also follow the recommended daily intake for potassium. To be sure your intakes doesn’t exceed the upper limit, the RDAs are listed below according to age and gender:
- Infants 0-6 months: 400 mg
- Infants 7-12 months: 700 mg
- Children 1-3 years: 3,000 mg
- Children 4-8 years: 3,800 mg
- Children 9-13 years: 4,500 mg
- Teens 14-19 years: 4,700 mg
- Adults 20+ years: 4,700 mg
- Pregnant women: 4,700 mg
- Lactating women: 5,100 mg
Takeaway: Are you having too much potassium in your blood?
To wrap it up, high levels of potassium in the blood is harmful. Be aware of the symptoms of hyperkalemia and see a doctor for treatment if you experience any.
To prevent hyperkalemia, reduce high potassium levels by drinking more water, taking medications as prescribed, and avoiding potassium supplements.