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Hyperkalemia
(High Blood Potassium)

Hyperkalemia Overview

Hyperkalemia is an excessive level of potassium in the bloodstream. Potassium has several important functions in the body. It is essential for the normal functioning of the muscles, heart, and nerves. Potassium helps the body regulate activity of muscle, including the smooth muscle (involuntary muscles, such as the muscles found in the digestive tract), skeletal muscle (voluntary muscles, such as muscles of the extremities and torso), and the muscle of the heart. It is also important for maintaining normal heart electrical rhythm and for normal electrical signals in the nervous system.

  • 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 are considered to be mild hyperkalemia.
  • Potassium levels of 6.1 mEq/L to 7.0 mEq/L are moderate hyperkalemia, and levels above 7 mEq/L reflect severe hyperkalemia.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/24/2014

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