How can I tell if I am getting too much potassium?

Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine

It can be very difficult to tell if you’re getting too much potassium. Most people have no idea. Hyperkalemia (abnormally high levels of potassium in your blood) is as stealthy as a crocodile swimming in for a kill. However, there’s a chance that some people may have symptoms such as a weak or even absent pulse, nausea, or an irregular heartbeat. You may notice muscle weakness that starts in the legs and travels up the body to the trunk and arms. Regardless, if you start feeling off or experience any of the symptoms listed above, call your doctor or 911 immediately. While the symptoms of too much potassium may be stealthy, its health implications definitely aren’t. It can be extremely dangerous, so the sooner you speak up, the better.

You can tell if you may be getting too much potassium by looking for the following symptoms:

  • nausea;
  • muscle weakness;
  • irregular heartbeat;
  • slow or low pulse
There are only a few symptoms that your potassium level could be high. Your doctor will have to run a blood test to measure your potassium level.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.