Hyperkalemia - Causes, Symptoms and Treatments for High Potassium levels: What is considered an abnormally high potassium level

Abnormally high levels of potassium in the bloodstream constitute a condition known as hyperkalemia. Potassium is a mineral which plays an important role in many functions of the body. It helps to control the balance of fluids in the body, helps the nerves and muscles to function properly and also helps in regulating heart beat. The levels of potassium in the body are controlled by the kidneys. These levels may become elevated if the kidneys are unable to function properly. The normal level of potassium in the body is 3.5 to 5 meq/L. If the level increases or decrease then it could pose a concern for the individual.

Hyperkalemia results when the potassium content in the blood rises above the normal level. This may occur due to an elevation in the overall potassium level of the body. It may also develop when the cells release an excess of potassium into the bloodstream. Since the kidneys are responsible for the removal of excess potassium, this condition usually arises due to disorders that affect the kidney's normal functioning. Such disorders include chronic or acute kidney failure, lupus nephritis, glomerulonephritis, and obstructive uropathy. Hyperkalemia could also arise when the body rejects a kidney transplant. The removal of excess potassium and sodium is regulated by the hormone aldosterone. Reduced production of aldosterone such as in the case of Addison's disease can affect the potassium levels in the body. Tissue trauma such as burns, tumors, surgery, gastrointestinal bleeding and serious injury could also result in excessive release of potassium into the bloodstream. Hyperkalemia is sometimes caused by certain medications which affect the functioning of the kidneys.

To control the levels of potassium in the blood, it is important to reduce the consumption of foods that are rich in potassium. These include cucumbers, bananas, potatoes and cauliflower. It is also advisable to allow vegetables to remain in boiling water for about a minute before cooking them. This serves to remove excess potassium. Consumption of potassium supplements can also lead to hyperkalemia and as such care should be taken when taking them. Salt substitutes must also be avoided as these add to the potassium content in the bloodstream. If the cause of the condition is kidney problems, then a medical examination is necessary. Excess potassium in the blood may also be removed by consuming plenty of water daily. This aids in removing the excess potassium through urination. Potassium levels are brought to normal by consuming foods that are rich in calcium.

answered by G R

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