Hyperkalemia

National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.

Important
It is possible that the main title of the report Hyperkalemia is not the name you expected. Please check the synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and disorder subdivision(s) covered by this report.

Synonyms

  • High Potassium
  • Hyperpotassemia

Disorder Subdivisions

  • None

General Discussion

Hyperkalemia is a condition caused by an abnormally high concentration of potassium in the blood. Potassium is a key element in contraction of muscles (including the heart) and for the functioning of many complicated proteins (enzymes). Potassium is found primarily in the skeletal muscle and bone, and participates with sodium to contribute to the normal flow between the body fluids and the cells of the body (homeostasis). The concentration of potassium in the body is regulated by the kidneys, and balance is maintained through excretion in urine. When the kidneys are functioning normally, the amount of potassium in the diet is usually sufficient for use by the body and the excess is excreted. Chemical and hormonal influences also help regulate the internal potassium balance. When hyperkalemia occurs, there is an imbalance resulting from a dysfunction of these normal processes.

Normally, 98% of the potassium in the body is found in the cells of various tissues, while only about 2% is circulating in the blood. When hyperkalemia occurs, it may come about because of an increase in total body potassium or as a result of increased release of potassium from the cells to the blood.

Abnormally high levels of potassium in the blood or urine suggest the presence of another underlying medical condition. Because potassium helps to regulate muscle activity, including the activity of heart (cardiac) muscle, hyperkalemia needs to be taken seriously.

Resources

Muscular Dystrophy Association
3300 E. Sunrise Dr
Tucson, AZ 85718
USA
Tel: (520)529-2000
Fax: (520)529-5300
Tel: (800)572-1717
Email: mda@mdausa.org
Internet: http://www.mda.org/

Digestive Disease National Coalition
507 Capitol Court, NE
Suite 200
Washington, DC 20002
Tel: (202)544-7497
Fax: (202)546-7105
Email: ddnc@hmcw.org
Internet: http://www.ddnc.org

NIH/National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse
2 Information Way
Bethesda, MD 20892-3570
Tel: (301)654-3810
Fax: (301)907-8906
Tel: (800)891-5389
Email: nddic@info.niddk.nih.gov
Internet: http://www.niddk.nih.gov

Genetic and Rare Diseases (GARD) Information Center
PO Box 8126
Gaithersburg, MD 20898-8126
Tel: (301)251-4925
Fax: (301)251-4911
Tel: (888)205-2311
TDD: (888)205-3223
Email: ordr@od.nih.gov
Internet: http://rarediseases.info.nih.gov/Default.aspx

For a Complete Report

For a Complete Report

This is an abstract of a report from the National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc. ® (NORD). A copy of the complete report can be obtained for a small fee by visiting the NORD website. The complete report contains additional information including symptoms, causes, affected population, related disorders, standard and investigational treatments (if available), and references from medical literature. For a full-text version of this topic, see http://www.rarediseases.org/search/rdblist.html

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