Potassium is an important electrolyte, which is a mineral your body needs to function properly. Potassium is very important for your arteries and muscles, including your heart.
While potassium is important for your health, getting too many nutrients can be worse, or worse than not getting enough. Usually, your kidneys maintain a healthy balance of potassium by releasing more potassium into your body. But for many reasons, the level of potassium in your blood can be very high. This is called hyperkalemia, or high potassium.
According to the Mayo Clinic, the normal range of potassium is between 3.6 and 5.2 millimeters per liter (mmol/L) of blood. Potassium levels above 5.5 mmol/L are very high, and potassium levels above 6 mmol/L can be life-threatening. Slight variations in grades may occur depending on the laboratory.
Whether you have mild or severe hyperkalemia, you should get treatment immediately to prevent possible complications.
A number of factors can contribute to hyperkalemia, including health problems and the use of certain medications.
Kidney failure is the most common cause of high potassium. When your kidneys fail or malfunction, they are unable to remove excess potassium from your body. This can lead to the formation of potassium.
Other health conditions
High potassium can also be linked to certain health problems, such as:
- type 1 diabetes
- Addison’s disease
- internal bleeding
Certain drugs have been linked to high potassium levels.
- certain chemotherapy drugs
- angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors
- angiotensin receptor blockers
High Potassium Side Effects
- a feeling of numbness or tingling
- breathing hard
- chest pain
- irregular heartbeat
Home remedies to reduce potassium
If your high potassium is severe, you should get treatment immediately. But if you have mild high potassium, you can help lower your potassium levels at home. Be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions for treating your high potassium levels, and then talk to your doctor before trying these methods.
Reduce your potassium intake
One of the easiest ways to lower your potassium levels naturally is to reduce the amount of potassium in your diet. This means reducing foods and foods high in potassium, and other foods high in potassium include:
What happens if your potassium is high?
Having too much potassium in your blood can be dangerous. Potassium affects the way your heart's muscles work. When you have too much potassium, your heart may beat irregularly, which in the worst cases, can cause a heart attack. If you think you are having a heart attack, call 911 for emergency help.
What causes potassium levels to be high?
The leading causes of hyperkalemia are chronic kidney disease, uncontrolled diabetes, dehydration, having had severe bleeding, consuming excessive dietary potassium, and some medications. A doctor will typically diagnose hyperkalemia when levels of potassium are between 5.0–5.5 milliequivalents per liter (mEq/l).
Is coffee high in potassium?
Three to four cups of coffee a day is considered high in potassium and could raise your potassium levels. Adding creamers or milk can further raise your coffee's potassium content. Drinking less than three cups of coffee/day is generally considered safe.
Can you check your potassium level at home?
A fast, accurate, and low-cost test for blood potassium levels, which can be used at home and has the potential to improve the safety, health, and lifestyle of tens of millions of people worldwide, is being developed by Kalium Diagnostics.
When should I be concerned about high potassium levels?
If you have symptoms of hyperkalemia, particularly if you have kidney disease or are taking medications that raise your potassium level, call your doctor immediately. Hyperkalemia is a serious and potentially life-threatening disorder. It can cause muscle fatigue.