Fast Five Quiz: Hyperkalemia Signs and Symptoms

A. Brent Alper, Jr, MD, MPH


December 07, 2021

Hyperkalemia refers to an elevation in potassium concentration, usually defined as a serum potassium concentration greater than approximately 5.0-5.5 mEq/L in adults. Prevalence estimates range from 1.5% in the general population, 5.6% in patients who were recently started on angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors or angiotensin receptor blockers, and about 10% of hospitalized patients worldwide. The causes of hyperkalemia are often multifactorial. An accurate patient history is vital in determining the potential pathophysiologic mechanisms, as this dictates treatment protocols.

Hyperkalemia is difficult to diagnose. Patients may be asymptomatic and most symptoms, when they do appear, are nonspecific and include fatigue and muscle weakness. Paralysis, cardiac conduction abnormalities, and cardiac arrhythmias can be lethal.

How familiar are you with the signs and symptoms of hyperkalemia? Test your knowledge with this quick quiz.


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