High potassium, known as hyperkalemia, is a common electrolyte abnormality in patients with chronic kidney disease. While most of us have heard that potassium is good for us and needs to be incorporated to have a well-balanced diet, potassium actually needs to be monitored in chronic kidney disease (CKD) patients.
What Causes Hyperkalemia?
Potassium enters the body orally, through foods we eat, and other means of body metabolism. It is a vital element that the body needs for our neurons to fire and our muscles to contract. The normal range for potassium is within the range of 3.5-5.5 mg/dL. Out of the several mechanisms that interplay to cause the potassium level to elevate, decreased filtration rate by the kidney is one of the main reasons potassium can become elevated in CKD patients.
Steps to Take If You Have High Potassium
When a CKD patient is on dialysis, a nephrologist and a specialized team of technicians will monitor the patient’s blood work because the kidneys can no longer remove potassium from the blood. If your blood work has an elevated potassium level, your nephrologist will ask you to monitor your potassium level by complying to a low potassium diet and be cautious of the foods you eat. You can visit our Patient Resources for more information on a low potassium diet.
If you have any questions about hyperkalemia or would like to discuss how potassium could affect your CKD, feel free to call us at (714) 435-0150 to schedule a consultation.