May also be called: Hyperpotassemia, High Potassium Hyperkalemia is a condition that causes potassium levels in the blood to be higher than normal. More to Know Potassium is essential to regulate how the heart beats and important for the function of other muscles and nerves. Excess potassium is usually removed by the kidneys and gastrointestinal tract. If kidneys are damaged or if they don't get rid of potassium the way they're supposed to, hyperkalemia is more likely to occur. Potassium supplements, alcohol, drug use, injuries, burns, and certain medications can also increase potassium levels. Often, hyperkalemia has no symptoms. Symptoms that might appear include nausea, weakness, fatigue, paralysis, and an irregular heartbeat. Hyperkalemia is diagnosed by a blood test. Keep in Mind Hyperkalemia can be life threatening and should be treated promptly. In most cases, hyperkalemia can be treated effectively with medications. All A to Z dictionary entries are regularly reviewed by KidsHealth medical experts. Back to Articles Related Articles Word! Kidney The kidneys are a pair of organs that filter waste materials out of the blood. Read More Blood Test: Comprehensive Metabolic Panel This group of blood tests provides doctors with clues about how the body is working. Find out why doctors do these tests and what's involved for teens. Read More Kidney Disease Sometimes, the kidneys can't do their job properly. In teens, kidney disease is usually due to infections, structural issues, glomerulonephritis, or nephrotic syndrome. Read More Kidney Diseases in Childhood The kidneys play a critical role in health. When something goes wrong, it could indicate a kidney disease. What are kidney diseases, and how can they be treated? Read More Kidneys and Urinary Tract The kidneys perform several functions that are essential to health, the most important of which are to filter blood and produce urine. Read More Your Kidneys You need at least one kidney to live. Find out why in this article for kids. Read More Kidneys and Urinary Tract The bean-shaped kidneys, each about the size of a child's fist, are essential to our health. Their most important role is to filter blood and produce urine. Read More Basic Blood Chemistry Tests Doctors order basic blood chemistry tests to assess a wide range of conditions and the function of organs. Read More Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor. © 1995-2021 KidsHealth®. All rights reserved. Images provided by The Nemours Foundation, iStock, Getty Images, Veer, Shutterstock, and Clipart.com.