Hyperkalemia: Symptoms & Signs

Medically Reviewed on 1/15/2021

Hyperkalemia is the medical term that refers to having potassium levels in the blood that are too high. The normal potassium level in the blood is 3.5-5.0 milliequivalents per liter (mEq/L). Potassium levels between 5.1 mEq/L to 6.0 mEq/L reflect mild hyperkalemia. Potassium levels of 6.1 mEq/L to 7.0 mEq/L are moderate hyperkalemia, and levels above 7 mEq/L represent severe hyperkalemia.

Signs and symptoms of hyperkalemia vary according to the level of severity. Mild hyperkalemia may not produce symptoms. Sometimes people observe vague symptoms such as

More serious cases of hyperkalemia can cause symptoms such as slow heartbeat and weak pulse. Severe hyperkalemia can result in fatal cardiac standstill (heart stoppage).

Causes of hyperkalemia

Causes of hyperkalemia include kidney disease, diseases of the adrenal gland, potassium shifting out of cells into the blood circulation, and taking certain medications.

Other hyperkalemia symptoms and signs

  • Fatigue
  • Heart Stoppage
  • Nausea
  • Slow Heartbeat
  • Tingling
  • Weakness
  • Weak Pulse


Anemia: Common Causes, Symptoms, Types, and Treatment See Slideshow

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Jameson, J. Larry, et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 20th Ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Education, 2018.