Doctor's Notes on Hyperkalemia (High Blood Potassium)
Hyperkalemia refers to the situation in which the blood level of potassium is abnormally high. An elevated level of potassium can have many causes. The main causes of a high potassium level are kidney problems or kidney failure, diseases of the adrenal gland, loss of potassium from inside of cells into the blood circulation, and taking certain medications.
In some cases, particularly with mild elevations of potassium, hyperkalemia does not produce symptoms (asymptomatic). In other cases, signs and symptoms of hyperkalemia include fatigue, nausea, muscle weakness, or tingling feelings. More serious symptoms of hyperkalemia can include a decreased in heart rate and weak pulse. Severe hyperkalemia can lead to heart stoppage and death. A rapid elevation in potassium level is usually more dangerous than one that rises slowly over time.
Must Read Articles:
Acute Kidney FailureKidney failure, or the ability of the kidneys to filter water and waste, is caused by prerenal, postrenal, or renal problems with the kidney(s). Symptoms of kidney failure include decreased urine production, confusion, fatigue, lethargy, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, problems concentrating, edema, and a metallic taste in the mouth. Treatment for kidney failure depends upon the cause.
AlcoholismAlcohol problems vary in severity from mild to life-threatening and affect the individual, the person's family, and society in numerous adverse ways. Signs of a drinking problem include insomnia, loss of employment, blackouts, depression, auto accidents, bruises, frequent falls, and anxiety. Treatment involves stabilization, detoxification, and rehabilitation of the alcohol-dependent person.
Chronic Kidney DiseaseTwenty percent of people over the age of 20 years will develop chronic kidney disease in their lifetime. Chronic kidney disease causes are diseases of the kidney(s), diabetes, uncontrolled high blood pressure, Glomerulonephritis, polycystic disease, medications, and other conditions. Symptoms include; fatigue, nausea and vomiting, edema, itching, easy bruising, anemia, headaches, insomnia, restless leg syndrome, chest pain, and more. Treatment for kidney disease generally involves dialysis, or kidney transplantation depending on the condition of the person and kidney(s).
Diabetic KetoacidosisDiabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) occurs when a person with diabetes becomes dehydrated. Causes of diabetic ketoacidosis include infection, missed insulin, or newly diagnosed diabetes. Some signs and symptoms of diabetic ketoacidosis include excessive thirst, vomiting, confusion, dry skin or mouth, shortness of breath, and abdominal pain. Diabetic ketoacidosis is a medical emergency and if you think you or someone you know may be suffering from diabetic ketoacidosis call 911 or go to the nearest urgent care facility or emergency department.
Drug Dependence and AbuseDrug dependence is the physical need for a certain substance. Drug abuse and dependence comprise a huge public health problem with no easy treatment available.
ElectrolytesElectrolyes, including sodium, potassium, and magnesium, are chemicals that help the cells and organs of the body function. Electrolyte imbalance can result from dehydration, kidney failure, tumors, and other causes. Some symptoms of sodium imbalance include lethargy, confusion, weakness, swelling, seizures, and coma.
Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.