High potassium, also known as hyperkalemia, refers to higher potassium levels in the blood than normal. Potassium is an essential electrolyte that your body needs to function correctly. It can be dangerous if the body does not process it correctly, however, and can lead to excess. Many different factors are found to be causes of high potassium, and these factors range in severity from mild to dangerous.
Sometimes, lab reports that show high blood potassium are inaccurate. If blood cells rupture while the technician is taking the blood sample or after he or she has obtained it, potassium can leak into the sample and cause a high reading. If you have no other symptoms of high potassium, but a blood test suggests it, your doctor may request a new sample to ensure that you truly have hyperkalemia before undertaking further investigation.
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