Hyperkalemia is a high level of potassium in the blood. Potassium is a mineral. It helps the heart, kidneys, and muscles work well. High levels can lead to problems with other minerals in the body.
Potassium enters the body through food and digestion. Excess potassium passes out of the blood through the kidneys. Hypokalemia happens when the kidneys cannot filter enough of it. This leaves too much potassium in the blood.
Common causes are:
A high intake of potassium from diet or supplements
Hyperkalemia—approach to the patient. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/hyperkalemia-approach-to-the-patient. Accessed January 7, 2021.
Hyperkalemia (high potassium). American Heart Association website. Available at: https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/heart-failure/treatment-options-for-heart-failure/hyperkalemia-high-potassium. Accessed January 11, 2021.
Kovesdy C. Updates in hyperkalemia: Outcomes and therapeutic strategies. Rev Endocr Metab Disord. 2017 Mar; 18(1): 41–47.
Potassium and the diet. Colorado State University website. Available at: https://extension.colostate.edu/topic-areas/nutrition-food-safety-health/potassium-and-the-diet-9-355. Accessed January 7, 2021.
Last reviewed February 2020 by
EBSCO Medical Review Board
Marcin Chwistek, MD
Last Updated: 1/7/2021
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