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Potassium is one of the most important elements needed for the body's function along with maintenance and growth. But everything in life has to be taken in the normal quantities and if this is not followed, some problems can happen. Taking too much potassium can lead to some problems and this is what we will be talking about in the following text.

If the body is not getting the needed minerals, the functioning of the body is impaired. Microminerals, such as potassium, sodium, and calcium, are required by the body in great amounts. Cells need potassium to function properly and some organs and tissues also need this element. Electrical rhythm maintenance, pH balance maintenance, muscle contraction, heartbeat regulation, and cell functioning are some things the potassium affects.

It is important to consume food rich in potassium, but in normal amounts because if you consume too much of it, problems arise. An overdose of potassium can occur if you use the potassium supplements. Aging causes the kidneys to be less efficient, which makes older people more susceptible to this problem. This time of life produces high levels of potassium in the blood.

Potassium Side Effects

High levels of potassium can lead to problems, so try not to consume more than 5mEq/l of potassium. Heart functioning can be impaired if this problem is present. Some other symptoms of potassium overdose are tingling sensations, seizures, breathing problems, numbness, heartbeat disruption, mild paralysis, fatigue, muscle weakness, and nausea.

The problem has to be treated, and if not, more problems will follow. Even some life-threatening problems related to the infection, improper protein metabolism, and reduced kidney function are associated with a problem called hyperkalemia.

This problem is created once the level of potassium goes over 5.5mEq/l and it can lead to diabetes. The nervous system can be impaired and the signals sent by the electrolytes, which is what potassium is, can be impaired, too. Also, paralysis, bowel function, mobility, and speech are affected, but the fact is that this problem can also affect muscles and lead to muscle weakness and fatigue, which can also lead to hyperkalemia.

Potassium overdose usually occurs accidentally, but potassium is also used for judicial executions, assisted death, and, rarely, suicides. In addition to exogenous overdose, various drugs, and renal failure, diabetic ketoacidosis can cause hyperkalemia. Potassium tablets are used in most cases of suicidal potassium overdose. Suicide by intravenous administration of potassium is rare but usually fatal. The author reports a rare case of suicide with potassium infusion.
  • The potential lethality of potassium overdose is well known. The most common cause of potassium overdose is accidental (mixing up drugs or miscalculating the dose, but it is also used for judicial executions, assisted death, and suicides. In addition to exogenous overdose, various drugs, renal failure, and diabetic ketoacidosis can also cause hyperkalemia.
  • Serum potassium concentration normally varies from 3.8 to 5.5 mEq/L. Hyperkalemia disrupts the depolarization and repolarization of myocardial cells, resulting in diverse types of arrhythmias and cardiac arrest. A potassium level of over 8.0 mEq/L will almost always cause diagnostic ECG changes, and at about 9–10 mEq/L potassium, causes ventricular fibrillation and asystole
  • Hyperkalemia also affects the neuromuscular system, causing symptoms, such as weakness and flaccid paralysis, and it tends to cause gastrointestinal symptoms, respiratory depression, oliguria, and metabolic acidosis. Apart from the systemic effects of potassium overdose, extravascular leakage of potassium chloride, or direct dermal injection, can lead to local necrosis and chemical burns caused by ischemia due to vascular constriction.
  • The detection of potassium overdose has high forensic relevance, but proving the overdose is difficult. A rare case of potassium overdose by infusion is presented. Only a few such cases of suicide have been reported, and none have been reported with complete biochemical analysis of different body fluids, toxicology, macroscopic findings, microscopic findings, and analysis of circumstantial evidence. A detailed review of the literature is presented, and the diagnostic possibilities of potassium overdose are discussed.
  • The highest survived serum potassium level was caused by intravenous administration of the wrong medication in a hospital setting in an infant who needed resuscitation but survived the incident without neurological deficit. Survivors of hyperkalemia have been reported with serum potassium concentrations reaching 14 mEq/L and 11.8 mEq/L. Survivors of severe cases of hyperkalemia caused by renal failure have been reported as having serum potassium levels reaching 9.7 mEq/L and 10.2 mEq/L.

Potassium Overdose Prevention

This problem causes diarrhea, abdominal discomfort, skin rash, and nausea. The problem of too much potassium can be great and as harmful as a deficiency of it. Be sure to consume normal levels of potassium to avoid problems that can be difficult to eliminate once they emerge. Also, be careful with the use of potassium supplements, and always consult a doctor before you include any supplement.

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