Potassium is vital for normal body functions, but too much can have life-threatening effects on your body. There are various things that can cause a high potassium level. They include adrenal dysfunction, kidney impairment, tissue trauma, and certain medications. This article will discuss common causes of a high potassium level.
The most common cause of a high potassium level is an impaired kidney. The kidneys are responsible for excreting potassium. When the kidney is not functioning normally, it will not be able to excrete the potassium. Various disorders such as transplant rejection, lupus nephritis, and chronic renal failure can impair the kidneys and cause a high potassium level.
Another cause of a high potassium level is adrenal dysfunction. The adrenal glands are adjacent to the kidneys and responsible for secreting a hormone called aldosterone. Aldosterone causes the kidneys to excrete potassium in your urine, so any dysfunction of the adrenal gland will lead to a high potassium level. The most common disorder that causes adrenal dysfunction is Addison’s disease.
If you have type 1 diabetes, you are also susceptible to a high potassium level. People with diabetes often have reduced kidney capacity. This coupled with a lack of insulin will cause fluid and potassium to seep into the blood stream and cause a high potassium level.
Another cause of a high potassium level is tissue trauma. Red blood cells release potassium into your bloodstream whenever they die. This excess potassium is normally excreted through the kidneys unless it is impaired for some reason. This tissue trauma can occur as a result of surgery, burns, injury, or tumors.
Medications are one of the final causes of a high potassium level. Various medications can reduce the amount of potassium that is excreted by your kidneys. If you are on any of these medications and consume potassium supplements or foods with lots of potassium, it will cause you to experience a high potassium level. Common medications that reduce potassium excretion are potassium sparing diuretics and ACE inhibitors used to treat high blood pressure.
These are some of the causes of a high potassium level. The most common is kidney impairment because the kidneys are responsible for excreting potassium. Dysfunction of the adrenal glands can also cause a high potassium level because of the reduced secretion of a hormone called aldosterone. You may also experience this condition if you take medications that reduce the amount of potassium excreted by your kidneys.