What is high potassium?
Having high potassium (hyperkalemia) means that the potassium level in your blood is higher than normal.1
High potassium is a serious condition known medically as ‘hyperkalemia’, so your doctor may use this name when talking to you about it.
Potassium is a mineral known as K+, that many parts of your body (including your brain, nerves, heart and muscles) need to work properly, but too much can be dangerous.2
The kidneys are the main organs responsible for controlling your potassium, by balancing how much potassium is in your body (intake) with how much is removed (output).2
Discover what causes
What are the symptoms of high potassium?
Usually, you won’t show any signs or symptoms of high potassium, so the condition is often only detected when you have a routine blood test.4,5
However, in some circumstances, such as when the levels of potassium are very high or rise rapidly, you may experience heart palpitations, shortness of breath, chest pain, nausea, or vomiting, in which immediate medical attention is required.4,5
If your potassium levels are not monitored and become too high, your risk of serious health issues can increase.5
Therefore, it is very important to be aware of your potassium level and ask your healthcare professional to check it at every visit.
Although many people will not be aware of any symptoms from their high potassium, some that you may notice include dizziness, diarrhea and muscle cramps.6,7
You should seek immediate medical attention if you experience any of the following signs and symptoms:4,5
Signs and symptoms
Unable to move
Other unusual sensations
Find out more about the risks
of high potassium
Is high potassium a lifelong condition?
There are several causes of hyperkalemia some of which may lead to an isolated event of hyperkalemia.
But for many people, high potassium can be a chronic, ongoing condition that can repeat over time.
In some people, high potassium can also be an acute condition, where the potassium levels in the blood rise rapidly.8,9
Because of this, ongoing management is very important to reduce any serious clinical consequences or lasting impact on your health and lifestyle.
Ask your doctor about how best to manage
your potassium over time
1. Montford JR, et al. J Am Soc Nephrol 2017;28(11):3155–65. 2. Weisberg LS. Crit Care Med 2008;36(12):3246–51. 3. Rodriguez JC, et al. Am Fam Physician 2006(2):283–290. 4. Campese VM, et al. Kidney Int Suppl 2016;6(1):16–19.
5. Cleveland Clinic. Hyperkalemia (High Potassium) available at: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/15184-hyperkalemia-high-blood-potassium. Date accessed: November 2021. 6. Kjeldsen K, et al. Eur Heart J Suppl 2019;21(Supplement A):A2–A5. 7. Shrimanker I, et al. Electrolytes 2020. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan. 8. Simon LV, et al. Hyperkalemia 2021 Feb 11. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan. PMID: 29261936. 9. Thomsen RW, et al. J Am Heart Assoc 2018;7(11):e008912.