Q:

What is the treatment for dangerously high and low blood potassium levels?

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Quick Answer

High blood potassium levels are treated with drugs, hemodialysis and diuretics; a diet change may also be part of the treatment, Healthline states. Low blood potassium levels are treated with prescribed pills or intravenous potassium injections; adding foods rich in potassium to an individual’s diet may also help, advises MedlinePlus.

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Full Answer

Treating high blood potassium levels depends on the circumstances and the cause of the condition. Treatment options include water pills for eliminating potassium through the urine, intravenous insulin and glucose delivery, intravenous calcium delivery, dialysis, and reducing the amount of potassium in the digestive tract with sodium polystyrene sulfonate. Dialysis is the most extreme option, and it's administered as a life-saving measure for individuals who are already being treated with other methods, WebMD explains.

Low blood potassium levels may be treated with medications, intravenous or oral potassium delivery, and sometimes surgery, notes Medscape. Medications may be used to directly restore the level of blood potassium or to restrict processes that release potassium from the body. Replacing potassium with oral or intravenous doses is typically necessary after potassium loss has been stopped. Oral delivery allows for larger doses, but some patients don't react well to high doses. Surgery is very rarely necessary, but it may be required for conditions with specific causes and additional complications.

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