Skip to main content

High Potassium

Houston Kidney Specialists Center -  - Nephrology

Houston Kidney Specialists Center

Nephrology & Internal Medicine located in Cypress and North Houston Area, TX

You need potassium for optimal body function, but too much potassium can interfere with your heart function and cause a heart attack. High potassium is a side effect of reduced kidney function, and the team at Houston Kidney Specialists Center can help you regulate your kidney function and potassium levels. If you’re concerned about kidney disease or high potassium, call the practice or schedule online today, at any of their four locations in Houston and Cypress, Texas.

High Potassium Q & A

What is potassium?

Potassium is one of the minerals your body needs to function correctly. It contributes to nerve and muscle activity, including your heart muscles. If you have too much potassium, it can cause an irregular heartbeat and potentially cause a heart attack. 

You consume all the potassium your body needs, and your kidneys filter out any excess. When your diet is healthy, and your kidneys work correctly, your potassium levels should stay between 3.5 - 5.5 mEq/L. 

What causes high potassium?

Kidney disease is the most common cause of high potassium. If your kidneys don’t remove potassium from your blood, it goes back into your bloodstream. Over time, your potassium levels increase and start to induce problems. 

Other potential sources of high potassium include dehydration, uncontrolled diabetes, and injuries that cause severe bleeding.

Your risk of high potassium also increases if you require dialysis to clean your blood. In most cases, you have dialysis three days a week, and potassium can build up between your appointments. 

What are the signs of high potassium?

In many cases, elevated potassium levels don’t trigger symptoms until the condition interferes with your heart function. Some of the most common signs of high potassium include:

  • Feeling tired, fatigued, or weak
  • Nausea
  • Muscle pains and cramps
  • Trouble breathing
  • Chest pain
  • Unusual heartbeat

If you have kidney disease, you and your doctor should regularly monitor your potassium levels to ensure your treatment is working. 

How can you help me manage my potassium levels? 

In most cases, the team at Houston Kidney Specialists Center combines medication and dietary adjustments to reduce and manage your potassium levels. They can prescribe a potassium binder to prevent potassium from building up in your blood. 

The team also helps you create and follow a kidney-friendly diet to lower your potassium levels. Your doctor can educate you about low and high potassium foods. For example, dairy products and fruits and vegetables such as bananas, potatoes, mangos, and winter squashes all have high potassium levels. 

You can also learn to leach potassium from these foods by soaking them in water for several hours or overnight. 

Call Houston Kidney Specialists Center or schedule an appointment online today, if you’re concerned about your kidney function and potassium levels.