What is
high potassium?
Causes of
high potassium
High potassium
foods
Warning signs of
high potassium
Treating
high potassium

WHAT IS HIGH POTASSIUM

What is high potassium?
Causes of high potassium
High potassium foods
Warning signs of high potassium
Treating high potassium

WHAT IS HIGH POTASSIUM

What is high potassium?
Causes of high potassium
High potassium foods
Warning signs of high potassium
Treating high potassium

What Is high potassium?

High potassium in the blood (also called hyperkalemia) means the potassium levels in your blood become higher than normal.

Healthy kidneys remove extra potassium from the body. If your kidneys don't work properly, they might not be able to. When potassium levels rise in the blood, they can cause serious health issues. In fact, for people with certain types of kidney problems (like chronic kidney disease), high potassium can be an ongoing problem.

Potassium in the body

Potassium is an important nutrient that helps keep your muscles working properly and your heartbeat regular. However, too much potassium in your blood can be a problem.

Possible effects of high potassium

High potassium can cause serious health issues, such as irregular heartbeat and other heart problems. If high potassium is not treated, levels may become too high and increase your health risks.

For many people, it is hard to tell when high potassium can happen, and it may not be just a one-time problem.

In a clinical study, about half of patients who had chronic kidney disease, and were diagnosed with high potassium, had 2 or more high potassium episodes within a year
Potassium pie chart Potassium pie chart

Causes of high potassium

Chronic kidney disease (also called CKD) is the most common cause of high potassium.
Kidney disease resulting from diabetes (also called diabetic nephropathy) can cause high potassium as well. Some patients with diabetes who have high levels of acid in their blood may also develop high potassium levels.

There is also a link between heart problems and kidney function. Heart failure can reduce the flow of blood to the kidneys. If your kidneys are not getting enough blood over a long period of time, they will not work properly.

Other causes of high potassium may include Addison’s disease and damage due to severe injuries and burns.

Some medications that you might take may increase potassium levels, particularly if you have other risk factors. The most common ones include:

  • Certain types of blood pressure medicines like ACE (angiotensin-converting enzyme) inhibitors, ARBs (angiotensin II receptor blockers), and MRAs (mineralocorticoid receptor antagonists) such as spironolactone and eplerenone
  • Medications for heart problems
  • NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) used to reduce fever, aches, and pains
  • Water pills (potassium-sparing diuretics) for some types of high blood pressure, lung disorders, or heart problems
  • Some herbal supplements and remedies, including milkweed, lily of the valley, Siberian ginseng, hawthorn berries, or preparations such as Bufo, Chan’su, and Senso

Discuss all medicines you are taking, including supplements or natural remedies, with your healthcare provider. Do not stop taking any medication on your own. Be sure to follow your doctor’s directions on what medications you should be taking.

You can learn more about kidney disease and food with these independent online resources:

www.kidneyfund.org
www.kidney.org/nutrition
Kidney APPetiteTM app*
*Kidney APPetite is a trademark of Sanofi.

high potassium and food

Foods that are high in potassium

If your kidneys are having trouble removing potassium from your body, eating foods that are high in potassium may make the condition worse. The following foods are high in potassium:

Fruits
Avocados, bananas, oranges, nectarines, kiwifruit, mangos, papayas, prunes, pomegranates

Vegetables
Brussels sprouts, potatoes, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, tomatoes and tomato products, spinach, beans and legumes, vegetable juices

Other
Milk, yogurt, granola, nuts and seeds, peanut butter, salt substitutes

Foods that are low in potassium

As an alternative to the foods above, here are some foods that are low in potassium:

Fruits
Apples, blackberries, blueberries, cherries, cranberries, grapes, pears, pineapple, raspberries, strawberries

Vegetables
Corn, cabbage (cooked), carrots (cooked), cauliflower, celery, cucumber, eggplant, kale, lettuce, onions, peas

Other
Rice, noodles, pasta, bread and bread products (not whole grain), pies (without chocolate or high potassium fruit)

Ask your healthcare provider for guidance on which foods are best for you.

warning signs of high potassium

High potassium usually has no symptoms or only vague symptoms. It’s often found during blood work that is being done for other reasons. If high potassium is not detected and levels become too high, the risks for serious health issues can go up. Contact your doctor if you experience any of the following warning signs:

  • Weakness
  • Exhaustion
  • Tingling, numbness, or other unusual sensations

  • Weakness
  • Exhaustion
  • Tingling, numbness, or other unusual sensations
Phone Exclamatory

Call 911 or go to the emergency room (ER) if you experience any of the following warning signs:

  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Paralysis
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Paralysis
  • Nausea and vomiting

Symptoms of high potassium may vary, so speak with your doctor about any symptoms that bother you.

A daily dose of VELTASSA can help maintain normal potassium levels

How is high potassium
TREATED over the long term?

High potassium can be hard to predict, and episodes can happen more than once. The good news is that VELTASSA, when taken daily, may help control potassium levels.

Talk to your doctor about options for keeping your potassium under control over the long term. If you have high potassium, your doctor may prescribe VELTASSA for as long as you need to use it. Your doctor may also speak with you about other options, such as changes to your diet.

VELTASSA helps remove extra potassium from your body. A dose of VELTASSA every day can help reduce high levels of potassium in your blood and maintain lower levels over time.

It is very important that you do not stop taking any of your medications, including VELTASSA, without direction from your doctor.

Important Safety Information

This information does not take the place of talking with your doctor about your medical condition or your treatment.

Who should not take Veltassa?

Do not take Veltassa if you are allergic to patiromer sorbitex calcium or any of the ingredients in Veltassa.

What should I tell my doctor before taking Veltassa?

Before you take Veltassa, tell your doctor about all of your medical conditions, including if you:

  • have problems having a bowel movement, including if you have severe constipation, a blockage (obstruction) in your bowel, or dry hard stool that will not pass out of your rectum (impaction)

  • have problems with your bowels after bowel surgery

Know the medicines you take. Keep a list of them to show your doctor and pharmacist when you get a new medicine.

Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins and herbal supplements.

What are the possible side effects of Veltassa?

Veltassa may cause serious side effects, including:

  • Low levels of magnesium in your blood (hypomagnesemia). Low levels of magnesium in the blood can happen when taking Veltassa. Your doctor will check the magnesium levels in your blood during treatment with Veltassa and may prescribe a magnesium supplement.

The most common side effects of Veltassa include: constipation, diarrhea, nausea, stomach-area (abdominal) discomfort, and gas.

Tell your doctor if you have any side effect that bothers you or does not go away.

These are not all of the possible side effects of Veltassa. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

General information about the safe and effective use of Veltassa

Do not take Veltassa for a condition for which it was not prescribed. Do not give Veltassa to other people, even if they have the same symptoms that you have. It may harm them. You can ask your doctor or pharmacist for information about Veltassa that is written for health professionals.

The risk information provided here is not comprehensive. To learn more, talk about Veltassa with your healthcare provider or pharmacist. Please see full Prescribing Information.

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