Potassium is important for keeping the heartbeat regular and muscles and nerves working properly. However, very high potassium levels can cause certain dangers. Healthy kidneys filter extra potassium from the blood, but when kidneys do not work properly, high blood potassium can result. People with kidney problems need to limit the amount of potassium they eat.
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High blood potassium, or hyperkalemia, often has no symptoms and is discovered during a routine blood test.
High potassium symptoms include weakness, fatigue, muscle aches, nausea, shortness of breath and numb and tingling sensations.
Danger of High Potassium
If potassium becomes excessively high, it can cause an irregular heartbeat or even a heart attack.
Safe blood potassium is between 3.5 to 5.0 as measured by a blood test. Levels higher than 6.0 are considered dangerous.
Almost all foods contain potassium. Many fruits and vegetables are high in potassium, but many others have low levels. Bananas, tomato paste, baked potatoes, beet greens and spinach are all extremely high in potassium. See the Resources section for a list of foods high--and low--in potassium.
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