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 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.
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.
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:
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:
Kidney APPetiteTM app*
*Kidney APPetite is a trademark of Sanofi.
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:
As an alternative to the foods above, here are some foods that are low in 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:
Call 911 or go to the emergency room (ER) if you experience any of the following warning signs:
Symptoms of high potassium may vary, so speak with your doctor about any symptoms that bother you.
This information does not take the place of talking with your doctor about your medical condition or your treatment.
Do not take Veltassa if you are allergic to patiromer sorbitex calcium or any of the ingredients in 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.
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.
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.