What Happens If You Get Too Much Potassium?

15 Signs You're Not Getting Enough Potassium And Foods To Help

Potassium is an essential mineral that plays a vital role in the proper functioning of the body. It is responsible for regulating fluid balance, maintaining nerve and muscle function, and controlling the heartbeat. However, too much of a good thing can be harmful. In this article, we will explore what happens if you get too much potassium.

What is Potassium?

Potassium is a mineral that is found in many foods, including bananas, avocados, spinach, and sweet potatoes. It is also available as a dietary supplement. Potassium is an electrolyte, which means it carries an electrical charge. It is essential for the proper functioning of cells, tissues, and organs.

What Happens When You Get Too Much Potassium?

When you get too much potassium, it can cause a condition called hyperkalemia. Hyperkalemia occurs when the level of potassium in the blood is too high. This can be dangerous and can cause a range of symptoms, including:

1. Muscle Weakness

Too much potassium can cause muscle weakness, cramping, and twitching. This is because potassium is essential for proper muscle function, and an excess of potassium can disrupt this balance.

2. Nausea and Vomiting

Excess potassium can also cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. This is because the body may try to get rid of the excess potassium by increasing urine output.

3. Heart Palpitations

Potassium is essential for the proper functioning of the heart. When there is too much potassium in the blood, it can disrupt the normal heart rhythm and cause palpitations or irregular heartbeat.

4. Tingling or Numbness

High levels of potassium can cause tingling or numbness in the hands, feet, or mouth. This is because potassium plays a role in nerve function, and too much potassium can disrupt this balance.

Who is at Risk of Getting Too Much Potassium?

Most people get enough potassium from their diet, and it is rare to get too much potassium from food alone. However, certain groups of people may be at risk of getting too much potassium, including:

1. People with Kidney Disease

The kidneys are responsible for removing excess potassium from the body. People with kidney disease may have difficulty removing excess potassium, which can lead to hyperkalemia.

2. People Taking Potassium Supplements

Potassium supplements are available over-the-counter and can be prescribed by a doctor. However, taking too much potassium in supplement form can lead to hyperkalemia.

3. People Taking Certain Medications

Some medications, such as ACE inhibitors and potassium-sparing diuretics, can increase the risk of hyperkalemia.


Potassium is an essential mineral that is necessary for the proper functioning of the body. However, too much potassium can be harmful and can cause hyperkalemia. It is important to get enough potassium from your diet, but not to exceed the recommended daily intake. If you are at risk of getting too much potassium, talk to your doctor about the best way to manage your potassium levels.