What are the symptoms of hyperkalemia?
Hyperkalemia can be asymptomatic, meaning that it causes no symptoms. Sometimes, patients with hyperkalemia report vague symptoms including:
- 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.