Hyperkalemia - Symptoms

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What are the symptoms of hyperkalemia?

Hyperkalemia can be asymptomatic, meaning that it causes no symptoms. Sometimes, patients with hyperkalemia report vague symptoms including:

  • nausea,
  • fatigue,
  • muscle weakness, or
  • tingling sensations.

More serious symptoms of hyperkalemia include slow heartbeat and weak pulse. Severe hyperkalemia can result in fatal cardiac standstill (heart stoppage). Generally, a slowly rising potassium level (such as with chronic kidney failure) is better tolerated than an abrupt rise in potassium levels. Unless the rise in potassium has been very rapid, symptoms of hyperkalemia are usually not apparent until potassium levels are very high (typically 7.0 mEq/l or higher).

Symptoms may also be present that reflect the underlying medical conditions that are causing the hyperkalemia.

Return to Hyperkalemia (High Blood Potassium)

See what others are saying

Comment from: Doug, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: April 15

My episode with hyperkalemia led to muscle weakness to the point that I couldn't walk. I also had a pulse rate in the 20s, blood sugar that was very high, mental confusion to the point that I wasn't coherent, an EKG all over the place, near kidney failure, and the ER doctor telling my wife she had better gather the family. I had foolishly ignored my morning blood sugar (505), the muscle weakness, and chest pressure probably because of the confusion caused by the increasing levels. I have learned my lesson: management of my diabetes and seeking medical attention when necessary.

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Comment from: SmokyMtnLady, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: March 21

I had weakness and fatigue, cloudy thinking and tingling in my fingers because of hyperkalemia. My legs were very tired. I also felt sleepy, or over-medicated all the time.

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