Hyperkalemia, the medical term for high potassium, is diagnosed when the potassium level in the blood is 5.1 mEq/L or higher, according to "Mosby's Manual of Diagnostic and Laboratory Tests." Hyperkalemia is a serious medical condition that can potentially cause cardiac arrest in extreme cases. It is, therefore, imperative that hyperkalemia be treated immediately. Aggressive treatment is required in severe cases -- defined as potassium levels of 7.1 mEq/L or higher.
Visit your doctor to discuss your concerns with your potassium levels. Your physician will likely want to test the potassium levels in your blood, which can be accomplished with a simple blood test. The course of treatment prescribed by your physician will vary based upon the severity of your hyperkalemia.
Discuss pharmaceutical options with your physician. Some medications, such as sodium bicarbonate, encourage your body to release its extra potassium, according to "Focus on Nursing Pharmacology."
Undergo emergency hyperkalemia treatment if instructed to do so by your physician. According to "Foundations of Nursing," a mixture of insulin, glucose and calcium is administered intravenously to rapidly reduce potassium levels.
Reduce your potassium consumption. Foods high in potassium, such as bananas, artichokes, sardines, pumpkin and peanuts, should be avoided.
- "Mosby's Manual of Diagnostic and Laboratory Tests"; Kathleen Deska Pagana PhD RN and Timothy J. Pagana MD FACS; 2009
- "Introduction to Medical-Surgical Nursing"; Adrianne Dill Linton; 2007
- “Foundations of Nursing”; Lois White, Gena Duncan and Wendy Baumle; 2010
- "Focus on Nursing Pharmacology"; Amy Morrison Karch; 2009