Among a number of conditions thatare directly related to the increased levels of potassium, probably the mostserious one in nature is hyperkalemia. As far as the importance of potassium isconcerned, every person should be aware that this substance represents one ofthe most vital nutrients that have a special role when it comes to properfunctioning and best overall health of our heart, as well as muscles and nervesall together. Aside from being a highly important muscle tissue regulator,potassium is also considered to be responsible for sustaining the properbalance of electrical and chemical process taking place in our body. Propermetabolism function and homeostasis are other areas that are covered by theeffect of potassium.
The levels of this substance areprimarily regulated and taken care of by kidneys, because its excess amountsget filtered by our kidneys and are discarded from the body by means of urine.Despite the fact that an improper function, as well as complete dysfunction ofkidneys lies at the bottom of the greatest majority of hyperkalemia cases, someother causes also contribute to the building up of excess potassium in aperson’s blood.
Condition related manifestationsand culprits
Having in mind its asymptomaticnature, the proper and precise diagnosing of hyperkalemia is considered to bequite a challenging and difficult task. Some of its more common manifestationsinclude such as the onset of tingling sensation, weakness in the person’smuscles, excessive fatigue, nausea, irregular heartbeat, breathing relateddifficulties and paralysis.
Given the fact that our kidneysare the ones responsible for maintaining the proper levels of potassium in ourbody, more precisely, in our blood, once their function becomes impaired out ofsome reason, so do the potassium levels as well. Therefore, improperfunctioning of the kidneys represents the most common cause of elevatedpotassium levels in a person’s body. Among other common causes we also find thefollowing: adrenal malfunction, traumatic injury affecting the tissues, varioushemolytic conditions, burns, gastrointestinal bleeding, overconsumption of foodand supplements abounding in potassium, ACE inhibitors, NSAIDSs, ARBs andmedications like Aldactone, Bactrim, or Dyrenium. People suffering from diabetestype 1 are considered to be at risk of suffering from hyperkalemia as well.
Diagnosing and treatment methods
In order to determine anddiagnose the above mentioned condition, doctors perform various blood tests, aswell as ECG. Proper potassium levels are considered to be from 3.5 to 5 mEg/L,but in case these levels are over 5.1 and range all the way to 7 mEg/L, this isconsidered as the mild hyperkalemia. Levels above 7 mEg/L signal extremelysevere hyperkalemia.
Treatment methods include introducingchanges to the previously too rich potassium diet, avoiding any drugs thatcause potassium levels to become elevated, use of cation-exchange resinmedication, employment of diuretics, as well as glucose intravenously, insulinand calcium.