How to counteract too much potassium in your body?

In this brief guide, we will answer the question, “How to counteract too much potassium in your body?”. We will further elaborate on the symptoms of too much potassium in your body and the causes of high potassium levels. 

How to counteract too much potassium in your body?

If you suspect to have high levels of potassium in your body, consult a doctor or healthcare provider. The healthcare provider may recommend you to get a blood test done. If the report confirms high potassium levels in your blood, he may ask you to:

  • Follow a diet low in potassium
  • Avoid several salt substitutes
  • Avoid using herbal medicines or supplements 
  • Take water pills or potassium binders

What is the normal level of potassium in the body?

The normal range of potassium should be between 3.5 and 5.5 mmol/l.

If a person is on dialysis the potassium levels should be between 3.5 and 5.9 mmol/l.

Symptoms of high potassium levels 

If you have high levels of potassium in your body, you may experience the following symptoms: 

  • Feeling weak or tired
  • Numbness or tingling
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Trouble breathing
  • Chest pain
  • Irregular heartbeat

In severe cases, high potassium levels can result in paralysis or heart failure.

What leads to high potassium levels in the body?

Several conditions can lead to high levels of potassium in the body, that include health issues and the use of particular medicines.

Kidney failure

It is the most prevalent cause of high potassium levels. If the kidneys fail or do not function well, they are not able to remove excess potassium. This can result in the accumulation of potassium.

Other health problems

High levels of potassium can also be due to some health conditions, for instance:

Medications

Several medicines have been associated with high levels of potassium including:

  • Some chemotherapy medicines
  • Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors
  • Angiotensin receptor blockers

Supplements

Excessive intake of potassium supplements can enhance the levels of potassium to a limit that is more than average and can be threatening.

Alcohol or drug use

If a person uses heavy alcohol or drugs, it can cause his muscles to break down, which can release a high concentration of potassium from the muscle cells into the bloodstream.

Trauma

Potassium levels can even be raised by some kinds of trauma, for example, burns or break injuries when a great number of muscle cells are damaged. In such a case, extra potassium drips from the body cells into the bloodstream. 

How to counteract high potassium levels in the body?

If your body has high levels of potassium, or if you are at risk, consult the healthcare provider to help you control the potassium concentration. You should provide all the necessary details about the medications you are using such as over-the-counter drugs, herbal remedies and supplements, so that he may guide you properly.

To help manage your potassium levels, the healthcare provider may prescribe you to:

Follow a diet low in potassium, if needed. 

Regular consumption of foods rich in potassium can result in complications, particularly for those who have kidney disease. Ask the doctor how much potassium can be good for you. 

Consuming too much potassium can be dangerous, but taking too little can create difficulties, too. Some individuals may require to have more; others may require less.

Try to avoid a few salt substitutes

A few salt substitutes contain too much potassium. People with kidney disease, particularly, should not have them.

Avoid herbal medicines or supplements

Herbal medicines or supplements may have constituents that can increase potassium levels. Herbal supplements should not be consumed by individuals who are diagnosed with kidney disease, particularly. Make sure to consult your doctor.

Take water pills or potassium binders.

Doctors may also recommend medicines to some people to help eliminate excess potassium from the body and for further prevention. These may be: 

Water pills (diuretics): Diuretics help to exclude excess potassium from the body. They act by stimulating frequent urination. 

Potassium binders: These are often available in powdered form. Potassium binders are blended in some amount of water and consumed with food. When consumed, they bind to the excess potassium in the bowels and eliminate it. 

If you are diagnosed with diabetes, kidney or heart problems, or any other serious illness, properly submitting to the prescribed remedies will help to maintain the potassium levels.

Conclusion 

In this brief guide, we have provided an answer to the question, “How to counteract too much potassium in your body?”. We have also elaborated on the symptoms of too much potassium in your body and the causes of high potassium levels. 

References

https://www.healthline.com/health/high-potassium-hyperkalemia
https://www.kidney.org/content/six-steps-control-high-potassium
https://www.ouh.nhs.uk/patient-guide/leaflets/files/50835Ppotassium.pdf

Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.