When to see a doctor

By Mayo Clinic Staff

High potassium is usually found when your doctor has ordered blood tests to help diagnose a condition you're already experiencing or to monitor medications you're taking. It's usually not discovered by chance.

Talk to your doctor about what your results mean. You may need to change a medication that's affecting your potassium level, or you may need to treat another medical condition that's causing your high potassium level. Treatment of high potassium is often directed at the underlying cause. In some instances, you may need emergency medications or dialysis.

If you have symptoms of hyperkalemia and have reason to think your potassium level might be high, call your doctor immediately. Hyperkalemia is a serious and potentially life-threatening disorder. It can cause:

  • Muscle fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Paralysis
  • Abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias)
  • Nausea
Nov. 18, 2011