What is Hyperkalemia?
What is Hyperkalemia? Hyperkalemia is a condition when potassium levels in the bloodstream are very high. As a result, people with hyperkalemia can feel the symptoms, such as nausea, fatigue and muscle body feels weak, and tingling.
Actually potassium has a very important role in the body, especially to smoothen and normalize the function of muscles, nerves, and heart. Because it is related to the performance of the heart, potassium is not likely to cause more serious problems, namely the disruption of electrical activity in the heart that is marked by the slowing of the heartbeat. Even in cases of severe hyperkalemia, the heart can stop beating and causing death.
Causes of Hyperkalemia
There are several factors that can increase the amount of potassium in the body, one of them is the side effects of diuretic drugs, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), angiotensin receptor drugs (ARB), and angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE inhibitor).
In addition to the side effects of drugs, hyperkalemia can also be caused by:
- Damage to tissues due to severe injury (trauma), rhabdomyolysis, surgical side effects, damage to tumor cells or red blood cells, and burns.
- The penetration of potassium present in cells into the bloodstream (eg in the case of diabetic ketoacidosis, one of the complications of type 1 diabetes).
- Disorders of renal performance in removing potassium, eg due to kidney failure, presence of urinary tract stones, glomerulonephritis disease, adrenal gland disease, and adverse kidney transplant side effects.
Diagnosis of Hyperkalemia
Immediately see a doctor if you feel the symptoms of hyperkalemia, such as the muscles of the body feels weak, and heart rate and pulse that slows down.
Blood tests are an effective method to measure potassium levels. In normal people, potassium levels range from 3.5 to 5.5 mmol / l or millimoles per liter. While in patients with hyperkalemia, potassium levels exceed 5.5 mmol / l.
In addition through blood checks, signs of hyperkalemia can also be known by doctors through electrocardiogram examination.
Treatment of Hyperkalemia
Treatment of hyperkalemia depends on the cause, severity, and health status of the patient. For example, if hyperkalemia is caused by the penetration of potassium into the blood vessels, then to return the substance to the cell can be done by administering salbutamol or injections of insulin and glucose.
Another type of treatment is the removal of potassium through the gastrointestinal tract using ion exchange resin drugs capable of binding potassium. In the case of hyperkalemia caused by side effects of a drug, then the handling can be done by doctors prescribe other drugs.
In addition to medication, treatment of hyperkalemia should also be supported by patients with a healthy diet at home, namely by eating low potassium foods such as rice, cereals, bread, cheese, milk, lettuce, radish, tomatoes, pear, cucumber, and lemon .
In the case of severe hyperkalemia, treatment is usually done in the hospital and the patient may have to perform dialysis (hemodialysis) to reduce excessive potassium levels in the body.