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What can high potassium levels in blood indicate?

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Quick Answer

High blood potassium levels can indicate kidney failure, excessive use of drugs or alcohol, or specific types of trauma such as burning, reports Healthline. High blood potassium levels may also be a consequence of taking chemotherapy drugs or potassium supplements.

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Depending on the exact level of potassium present, elevated blood potassium levels may result in a wide range of symptoms, from no observable symptoms at all to heart-related complications and paralysis, explains Healthline. Other symptoms include feeling weak or tired, having breathing problems, feeling numbness or a tingling sensation, vomiting, and experiencing heart palpitations.

High blood potassium treatment has the goals of stabilizing the functioning of an individual’s heart and removing potassium from the body until the blood levels return to normal. The type of treatment depends on the severity of the condition and its causes, states Healthline. If kidney failure is the cause, hemodialysis is best. This consists of filtering blood through a machine instead of relying on the kidneys. To remove the potassium through urination, diuretics may be used. Drugs may be necessary to return the heart to its normal functioning. Eating fewer foods that are high in potassium can also help; those foods include milk, salmon, bananas, nuts and beans.

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