High potassium can be a serious condition.

High potassium is actually hyperkalemia, a condition that can be life-threatening.

With hyperkalemia, which can be an ongoing condition, potassiumpotassium
A nutrient that exists in your blood and helps keep your muscles, nerves, and heart working well. It’s also important for digestive and bone health.
levels in your blood are higher than normal. It may not seem serious at first, but there can be serious consequencesConsequences
A result or effect of an action or condition.
.

The fact is, your high potassium levels can recurRecur
Something that occurs often and repeatedly.
, spike, or remain high. This can cause severe complications, such as heart issues, and can lead to hospitalization.

People with certain health conditions or on certain medications may have a higher chance of developing hyperkalemia.

Those include:

Kidney Icon
Kidney Icon

Certain kidney problems

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High Blood Pressure Icon

High blood pressure

Diabetes Icon
Diabetes Icon

Diabetes

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Heart Icon

Heart failure

Taking Certain Medications for Blood Pressure or Heart
Taking Certain Medications for Blood Pressure or Heart

Certain medications for blood pressure or heart

What happens if you don’t manage hyperkalemia?

Left unmanaged, potassiumpotassium
A nutrient that exists in your blood and helps keep your muscles, nerves, and heart working well. It’s also important for digestive and bone health.
levels can become dangerously high. This may result in serious health issues, including weakness, nausea, paralysis,Paralysis
The loss of muscle movement in part of your body.
and heart problems, such as cardiac arrestCardiac arrest
A sudden and unexpected loss of heart function, breathing, and consciousness.
. But there are things you can do to help keep your potassium level under control.

What does potassium do in your body?

Potassium is a nutrient that helps certain cells work. The right levels of potassium are necessary to keep your muscles, nerves, and heart working well and are important for digestive and bone health.

You can find out your potassium levels through routine blood tests ordered by your doctor. A normal potassium level is between 3.5 and 5.0 mmol/L. Any level above 5.0 mmol/L may be considered high and potentially dangerous. In some cases, up to 5.2 mmol/L is considered normal. Ask your doctor about your potassium levels and if you may need a medication to help remove the excess potassium from your body to help treat hyperkalemia.

Slide the box to learn about potassium levels

Normal

Blood potassium level between 3.5 and 5.0 mmol/L*

Hypokalemia

Blood potassium level less than 3.5 mmol/L

Hyperkalemia

Blood potassium level more than 5.0 mmol/L

Normal

Like high potassium, low potassium can also potentially cause serious health issues.

*In some cases, up to 5.2 mmol/L is considered normal.

 

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Different levels of hyperkalemia

Sometimes hyperkalemia is described as mild, moderate, or severe. And as your potassiumpotassium
A nutrient that exists in your blood and helps keep your muscles, nerves, and heart working well. It’s also important for digestive and bone health.
levels increase, so does the risk. But no matter which level of hyperkalemia you have, it's important to work with your healthcare provider to keep your potassium levels down.

  • Your potassium level is increased (>5.0 to <5.5 mmol/L)
  • You may not have any symptoms, or you may have mild and nonspecific symptoms, such as nausea, numbness, tingling, and muscle weakness
  • Your potassium level is increased (5.5 to 6.0 mmol/L)
  • You may have mild symptoms such as weakness or fatigue
  • Your potassium level is very high (>6.0 mmol/L)
  • You may have severe symptoms, such as muscle pain, loss of muscle function, and rapid, strong, or irregular heartbeat
  • Having a blood potassium level higher than 6.0 mmol/L can be dangerous and may require immediate treatment

Did you know that potassium is found in many foods?

Your healthcare provider or a dietitian may help you plan your diet to make sure you are not consuming too much potassiumpotassium
A nutrient that exists in your blood and helps keep your muscles, nerves, and heart working well. It’s also important for digestive and bone health.
through the foods you eat. But of course, it’s important that you continue to maintain a healthy diet. As a general guide, here are some foods you may want to include, limit, or avoid:

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Apple Icon
Fruits

Apples, berries (such as strawberries and blueberries), cherries, cranberries and cranberry juice, grapes, peaches, pineapple, and plums

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Green Beans Icon
Vegetables

Raw cabbage, cauliflower, celery, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, green beans, lettuce, onion, peppers, and zucchini

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Tea leaves Icon
Other

White bread, coffee (limit to 8 ounces), noodles, white pasta, rice, and tea (limit to 16 ounces)

Banana Icon
Banana Icon
Fruits

Apricots, avocados, bananas, cantaloupes, dried fruits, grapefruit juice, honeydew melons, kiwis, mangos, nectarines, orange juice, pomegranates, prunes, and raisins

Carrot Icon
Carrot Icon
Vegetables

Artichokes, beets, broccoli (cooked), Brussels sprouts, carrots, potatoes (white and sweet), pumpkin, spinach, tomatoes, squash (acorn and butternut), and vegetable juices

Other Foods to Avoid
Other Foods to Avoid
Other

Bran products, beans (baked beans, lentils), milk, nuts, whole wheat pasta and whole wheat bread, chocolate, and salt substitutes

Symptoms

Hyperkalemia can be a silent threat. You may not even be aware that your potassiumpotassium
A nutrient that exists in your blood and helps keep your muscles, nerves, and heart working well. It’s also important for digestive and bone health.
is dangerously high. And you may not feel any symptoms at all. Many times, hyperkalemia is only detected by routine bloodwork. But if you notice any of these symptoms, talk to your healthcare provider as soon as possible:

  • Muscle fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Tingling or unusual sensations

Serious warning signs

If there is very high potassiumpotassium
A nutrient that exists in your blood and helps keep your muscles, nerves, and heart working well. It’s also important for digestive and bone health.
in the blood or if symptoms below show, hyperkalemia can be life-threatening. If you begin to experience any of these serious warning signs, seek immediate medical assistance:

  • Fluttering or pounding heartbeats
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Paralysis
  • Nausea or vomiting

Don’t delay. Call 911 or go to the emergency room. Sudden elevationsElevation
To be above a certain level.
in potassiumpotassium
A nutrient that exists in your blood and helps keep your muscles, nerves, and heart working well. It’s also important for digestive and bone health.
above certain levels can be a life-threatening condition. Seek immediate medical care.

LOKELMA is indicated for the treatment of hyperkalemia in adults.

LOKELMA should not be used as an emergency treatment for life-threatening hyperkalemia because of its delayed onset of action.

How much do you know about hyperkalemia?

Hyperkalemia is important for you to manage because it could lead to serious health issues and hospitalization. But how much do you really know about it? It’s time to test your knowledge with a quick quiz.

What health conditions put you at a greater risk for hyperkalemia?

 

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