Too much potassium in the blood, a condition known as hyperkalemia, may indicate:
- Kidney disease
- Burns or other traumatic injuries
- Addison's disease, a hormonal disorder that can cause a variety of symptoms including weakness, dizziness, weight loss, and dehydration
- Type 1 diabetes
- The effect of medicines, such as diuretics or antibiotics
- In a rare instances, a diet too high in potassium. Potassium is found in many foods, such as bananas, apricots, and avocados, and is part of a healthy diet. But eating excessive amounts of potassium-rich foods can lead to health problems.
Too little potassium in the blood, a condition known as hypokalemia, may indicate:
- A diet too low in potassium
- Loss of bodily fluids from diarrhea, vomiting, or use of diuretics
- Aldosteronism, a hormonal disorder that causes high blood pressure
If your results are not in the normal range, it doesn't necessarily mean that you have a medical condition requiring treatment. Certain prescription and over-the-counter medicines may raise your potassium levels, while eating a lot of licorice may lower your levels. To learn what your results mean, talk to your health care provider.