How is a person with hyperkalemia (high blood potassium levels) diagnosed?

A serum potassium test measures the level of potassium in the blood. If the levels are too high, the patient may have hyperkalemia. Hyperkalemia is often diagnosed because the patient already has a kidney disorder. A kidney disorder decreases the kidney’s ability to get rid of potassium it does not need. Because of this, doctors watch potassium levels more closely in patients with kidney disorders.

Electrocardiograms (EKGs) can show changes in the wave pattern that may be linked to hyperkalemia.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 10/19/2016.


  • American Academy of Family Physicians. Hyperkalemia Accessed 1/9/2017.
  • National Kidney Foundation. Potassium and Your CKD Diet Accessed 1/9/2017.
  • Hirsch S. An update on proteinuric chronic kidney disease: the dual-goal approach. Cleve Clin J Med. 2008; 75:705–713.

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