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What Does a High Potassium in a Blood Test Indicate?

Updated July 19, 2017

A blood test that shows high blood potassium may indicate kidney diseases or other problems. High potassium, or hyperkalemia, can cause problems if it is not regulated. Treatment normally involves the underlying cause of hyperkalemia. (Ref. 1-3.)

Potassium Test

According to Medlineplus, a potassium test measures the amount of potassium in the blood. It is normally administered during electrolyte tests. (Ref. 2.)

Normality

The normal range of blood potassium is 3.7 to 5.2 milliequivalents per litre. Anything above that range is considered hyperkalemia. (Ref. 2.)

Considerations

Testing is not perfect. If your test results are drastically abnormal, it may be a good idea to have the test performed again. Drugs that you take may skew results as well. (Ref. 2.)

Significance

High levels of blood potassium may indicate kidney disease, such as acute or chronic kidney failure, lupus nephritis, and obstructive uropathy. (Ref. 3.)

Problems

According to the Mayo Clinic, high levels of blood calcium can cause muscle fatigue, weakness, paralysis, heart arrhythmias, and nausea. (Ref. 1.)

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About the Author

Cassidy Velez is a full-time freelance writer who has focused primarily on nutrition and health. She has published several articles with eHow. As an athlete and personal trainer, she has much experience with fitness and an understanding of how the human body works. Velez graduated with a bachelor's degree in human development from Cornell University.