Symptoms Of Having Too High A Potassium Intake
The human body requires potassium for proper function of many different organs, including the kidneys, muscles, nerves, heart, stomach, and intestines. A person who has hyperkalemia has too much potassium in the system. This happens if the kidneys are not clearing waste properly or if the individual is consuming an excess amount of potassium supplements.
Potassium levels should be between 3.6 and 5.2 mmol/L. Hyperkalemia can be dangerous because it affects so many different vital organs in the body. Anyone who is taking potassium supplements must learn to recognize the signs of this condition.
Abnormal potassium levels will usually cause gastrointestinal problems first. Frequent vomiting and nausea could be signs that potassium levels are elevated above normal levels.
High levels of potassium in the bloodstream will adversely affect the muscles and nerves. Symptoms include tingling, numbness, weakness, paralysis and trouble breathing. In the most serious cases, it can suppress the respiratory system to the point that the individual stops breathing. When this happens, the individual will have to go to the hospital and be placed on a respirator.
The natural rhythm of the heart is affected if the potassium level is higher than 7.0 mmol/L. The heart muscles need potassium for normal function. Too much potassium causes arrhythmia and can lead to cardiac arrest. Symptoms include dizziness, an irregular pulse and chest pain.
When treating hyperkalemia, physicians will address the blood potassium level while stabilizing the organs that are failing to function properly. This may involve treating the patient with binding agents and diuretics to clear the excess potassium through the feces and urine.
Just because potassium is good for the body does not mean more is better. Maintaining the proper level of potassium in the blood is critical to good health. Individuals who are taking potassium must be aware of the problems that can occur if they accidentally consume too much. They should also make sure to drink plenty of water and avoid orange juice, bananas, raisins, prunes and other foods and beverages high in potassium. Being able to identify the symptoms of hyperkalemia can mean the difference between life and death.
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