Potassium is essential for our body, but if it is too high it can be dangerous causing serious damage. Here are the consequences of hyperkalemia.
Hyperkalemia commonly occurs in people taking medications due to kidney failure or other health problems. It is a level of potassium in the blood above normal values (above 5-5.5 thousand-equivalents per liter).
If it is a mild form of hyperkalemia it does not cause symptoms, otherwise if it is high it causes serious health problems. It can cause heart arrhythmias, paralysis, cardiac arrest. potassium is essential for the heart and neuromuscular system, but if it is too high it creates other types of dysfunctions. Specifically, to be dangerous, it must exceed 6.5 thousand equivalents per liter.
The causes of hyperkalemia are various, among them, an increase in potassium intake, a wrong metabolism and poor excretion of the kidneys. It must be diagnosed before it can be treated. Here’s when hyperkalemia is symptomatic :
- numbness or tingling
- weakness and fatigue
- respiratory difficulties
- palpitations and irregular heartbeat
We can also mention the causes of hyperkalemia.
- pseudohyperkalaemia, which is a false increase in potassium levels. For example, it happens when you clench your fist too hard during a withdrawal
- exaggerated release of potassium from cells for severe burns and diabetes
- increased potassium intake (complications for those with kidney disease)
- taking some chemotherapy drugs, beta-blockers, etc.
- in kidney disease or dysfunction
The main test to do is an electrocardiogram : the most dangerous complications are arrhythmias of the heart. Here are the anomalies that the electrocardiogram can detect.
- PR interval prolonged beyond normal
- small or no P wave
- increased R wave
- broad QRS complex
- T waves with peaks
Other tests to be performed could be the evaluation of kidney function and urinalysis. Hyperkalemia is treated soon after the diagnosis is confirmed . Especially in people who have potassium above the norm, they report muscle weakness and changes in the electrocardiogram.
Therapy for this syndrome involves stopping sources that introduce too much potassium into the body. For example dried fruit, vegetables and red meats. Then a calcium -based therapy for cardiac dysfunctions would be effective , insulin therapy in patients with diabetes. In addition, taking diuretics could benefit the excretion of potassium in the urine. Sodium bicarbonate is useful, while hemodialysis is recommended for patients with renal insufficiency.
- Hyperkalemia: symptoms and consequences of increased potassium levels in the blood (ohga.it)