What clinical factors increase the risk of hyperkalemia (high serum potassium level) in patients with diabetes mellitus?

Updated: Jun 20, 2018
  • Author: Eleanor Lederer, MD, FASN; Chief Editor: Vecihi Batuman, MD, FASN  more...
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Answer

Patients with diabetes mellitus are at increased risk for hyperkalemia. In one review of an unselected group of diabetes clinic patients, 15% (270 of 1764) had a serum potassium level higher than 5 mEq/L; however, fewer than 4% had levels higher than 5.4 mEq/L. [45] Clinical risk factors significant in predicting the occurrence of hyperkalemia included renal insufficiency, duration of diabetes mellitus, age, glycosylated hemoglobin levels, and retinopathy—but not the serum glucose level or the drugs used for diabetes treatment.


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