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What causes elevated potassium levels? - Online Doctor Chats

Date : 01-Mar-2014
User rating for this question
Very Good Posted in: X-ray, Lab tests and Scans
Answered by

General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2002
Answered : 106 Questions
User:Hi, I had my blood results done few weeks ago. All results ok but potassium 6,3. I have taken another test yesterday but I'm very worried now since few weeks ago I had extra systole for weeks. I really eat lots of fruits daily. I'm 27, no kids, diagnosed with proctitis. Is 6,3 very high level?
Doctor:6.3 is moderately high
Doctor:Hi, I am Dr. XXXXXXX here
Doctor:Potassium can be wrongly elevated if you clenched your fist when they drew the blood
Doctor:or if the blood had some hemolysis
Doctor:Hello, are you there?
User:Hi thank you.. I have never been diagnosed with high K previously
User:So I'm worried now.. I wouldn't really worry that much but as I said I had some extra heart systole few weeks ago for two weeks I thought its stress from work
Doctor:it is quite possible for a wrong report
Doctor:wait for the repeat one
User:So now I think that it could be from that
User:Yes I have to just was reading that is life treating
User:So is it 6,3 that dangerous?
Doctor:6.3 can be XXXXXXX
Doctor:the problem with potassium levels is that it causes the heart to stop pumping
Doctor:and the silver lining is, you can detect if the heart is having any trouble due to increased potassium levels by getting an ECG(EKG) done
User:Cuz my gp she called me first that all results are ok, she said she would bet her money that it was some temporal case.. But then my gastroenterologist requested another one... So if gp I wouldn't even know about that
Doctor:Okay, it is good that your gastroenterologist requested a repeat
Doctor:did he not request for an ECG too?
User:Could it be caused from lots of fruits I'm eating?
User:No, I guess he wanna see another one
Doctor:Even if you eat lots of fruits, potassium level will not increase because our kidneys can put out excess potassium if not needed
User:So from what then? As far as I know my kidneys are ok
Doctor:As I said, it could be because of some sample processing or storing problem
Doctor:even if you store the blood for long, the potassium levels will go up
Doctor:wait for the second report.
User:Do you think that those extra systole I had weeks ago could be also related to potassium increase?
Doctor:and don't panic, 6.3 is not that XXXXXXX as to cause the heart to stop
Doctor:I don't think so
User:I have to say I'm stressing as you can see... As I said, had blood test 6 months ago and all good
Doctor:If you had increased potassium levels persisting for weeks, you would not get one isolated extra systole weeks ago and nothing afterwards
User:Could this be related to my proctitis?
Doctor:Proctitis has nothing to do with potassium levels
User:I had constant extra systoles for two weeks, all the time afternoon or evening once I came from work.. Now it's gone already thanx god
Doctor:Okay, do you drink a lot of coffee?
User:Not really
User:Not at all, but working in sales
Doctor:if you had had extrasystoles for two weeks continuously, then I would suspect increased potassium levels
Doctor:extra systoles for two weeks becomes significant
Doctor:since that stopped now, you can relax
User:I was taking huge amount of micro fiber-psyllium .. Do you think this can be related?
Doctor:Please get the second report and I would suggest you to get an ECG too
User:The another thing is I had those extra systoles only if seated or in bed, no when standing or walking
Doctor:that could be because of the increased venous return to the heart
Doctor:that can happen without any reason
Doctor:Hyperkalemia would not wait for you to sit to cause an extra systole
Doctor:it is not too high
Doctor:so don't panic
Doctor:wait for your report, and meanwhile get an ECG done
Doctor:Let us hope your report turns out fine
Doctor:Is there anything else I can help you with?
User:Hopefully will get results tomorrow.. And based on results will do steps.. I have appointment schedule with cardiologist in two weeks but not sure if thus can wait that long
Doctor:I am afraid this can't wait that long
Doctor:if it turns out as abnormal
Doctor:let us hope it does not
User:Of course once potassium will be high again I won't swig that long
Doctor:Don't worry, if the potassium is high, there are effective treatments available
User:Just looking for reason, I don't think my kidneys working incorrectly, but could be wrong.. Just haven't been experiencing any problems with them
Doctor:Do you have diabetes or hypertension ?
User:No diabetes, hypertension not really high, sometimes higher blood pressure
Doctor:then I don't think you need to worry about your kidneys
Doctor:in your case it could be diet
Doctor:rarely, if you consume something that is extremely high in potassium the blood levels can go up a bit
Doctor:Your chat time has expired, please recharge or log in again to continue the chat
Doctor:take care, and have a good evening
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