Potassium Disorders

Disorder of Potassium and Sodium

Normal kidney function keeps your level of electrolytes (sodium, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and chloride) within a healthy range. This allows electrical impulses to be sent to the brain, muscles, and heart without short-circuiting. Electrolyte imbalances may be caused by an underlying systemic disease.

Certain kidney problems result in an imbalance of electrolytes that pose danger to the function of your body. An electrolyte imbalance can be treated by taking supplements or following a special diet to correct it.


Causes of Hyperkalemia or Hypokalemia

Hyperkalemia (High Potassium in blood)

  •  Sudden onset of kidney failure
  •  Chronic kidney disease
  •  Medications
  •  Diseases affecting your adrenal gland
  •  Taking potassium supplements or vitamins
  •  Diet high in potassium (mango, bananas, etc.)

Hypokalemia (Low Potassium in Blood)

  •  Diarrhea
  •  Vomiting
  •  Medications (diuretics, etc)
  •  Malnutrition
  •  Genetic diseases affecting your kidney’s ability to hold onto potassium


  • Heart palpitations or changes in heart rate
  •  Muscle aches
  •  Lethargy
  •  Fatigue
  •  Weakness

Special care should be taken in these situations. High potassium can be fatal to your heart, and may cause life-threatening arrhythmias that can alter your heart’s ability to function properly.

If you have chronic kidney disease or have ever had any of the any of the electrolyte imbalances previously mentioned (Potassium or Sodium), make an appointment with a kidney doctor to discuss possible causes and prevention methods to keep your health optimal and avoid complications.

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