What Causes Hyperkalemia?
Level of potassium in blood of over 7.0 millimoles per litre can be life-threatening. Some of the possible reasons of hyperkalaemia or higher than normal levels include:
- During blood transfusion
- Breakdown of muscle fibres as a result of injury of tissues
- Type 1 diabetes
- Excessive potassium in the diet or due to the intake of potassium supplements
- Serious injury or burns that have destroyed red blood cells
- Failure of the kidneys
- Respiratory acidosis that arises when the lungs cannot get rid of carbon dioxide generated by the body, which increases the acidity of the fluid.
- Metabolic acidosis that arises due to excessive production of acid or the inability of the kidneys to remove sufficient acid from the body.
- Hypoaldosteronism or a condition that arises due to the dysfunction or deficiency of the hormone called aldosterone.
- Addison’s disease, or adrenal glands don’t produce sufficient hormones.
- Certain specific medications like non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs), beta-blockers, diuretics, and ACE enzyme inhibitors.
There are certain situations that can lead to inaccuracies in the potassium test results. For instance, potassium level may increase when you relax and close your fist tight while collecting blood. Shaking the blood sample test may lead to the potassium leaking out of the cells and onto the serum. Under such circumstances, your doctor will probably advise you to go for a repeat K+ test.
Potassium Test: When should it be repeated?
If your doctor suspects inaccuracies in your test result, he/she may recommend that you go for a repeat blood test.
If the test is done to monitor certain health conditions, the doctor may advise repeating the K+ test at regular intervals.
A medical practitioner selects a vein, usually on the back of your hand or inside of your elbow, to draw blood with an injection. The blood is collected in the vial of an injection and sent to the laboratory for testing under the microscope. The chosen part of the body is wrapped tightly with a band and antiseptic is spread across the area to clean it. After the blood is collected, the needle and the wrap is removed. The area where the needle was inserted is then covered with a small bandage. It usually takes a few minutes to generate the K+ blood test results.
There may be some side effects of the potassium test, though they are rare. Some of these risks are:
- Skin infection, in extreme cases, when the skin is broken