Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
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
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
Potassium levels between 5.1 mEq/L to 6.0 mEq/L are considered to be
Potassium levels of 6.1 mEq/L to 7.0 mEq/L are moderate
hyperkalemia, and levels above 7 mEq/L reflect severe hyperkalemia.