Hyperphosphatemia is a condition in which you have too much phosphate in your blood. Causes include advanced chronic kidney disease, hypoparathyroidism and metabolic and respiratory acidosis. Hyperphosphatemia doesn’t have symptoms. Treatment includes making changes to your diet, medications and dialysis.
Hyperphosphatemia is a condition in which you have excess phosphate (phosphorus) in your blood.
Phosphate is a type of electrolyte. Electrolytes are minerals that have a natural positive or negative charge when dissolved in water or other body fluids, such as blood.
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You’re at a greater risk of chronic kidney disease or kidney failure if you:
Among most people throughout the world, hyperphosphatemia alone is rare. However, if you have advanced chronic kidney disease, hyperphosphatemia is common. Approximately 70% of people with advanced chronic kidney disease have hyperphosphatemia.
Your body needs phosphate to help form and strengthen your bones and teeth. It also helps your cells produce energy and build cell membranes.
But if your phosphate levels are too high, it can remove calcium from your bones, which makes them brittle. It can also cause calcium deposits in your eyes, lungs, heart and blood vessels, which increase your risk of heart attack, stroke and death over time.
Hyperphosphatemia usually doesn’t have any immediate symptoms by itself. However, hyperphosphatemia can remove calcium from your bones and blood, which may cause hypocalcemia.
Hypocalcemia symptoms include:
Hyperphosphatemia causes include:
Though not as common, hyperphosphatemia can also develop as a result of:
Advanced chronic kidney disease is the most common cause of hyperphosphatemia.
No, hyperphosphatemia isn’t contagious. You can’t spread hyperphosphatemia to another person through any means other than genetics in very rare cases.
A healthcare provider can diagnose hyperphosphatemia. They’ll look over your medical history, conduct a physical examination and ask about your symptoms, diet and any medications you’re currently taking. In order to check the phosphate levels in your blood, they must conduct a blood test.
During a blood test, the provider will use a thin needle (21 gauge, slightly smaller than the size of a standard earring) to withdraw a small amount of blood from a vein in your arm. They’ll send the sample to a laboratory to measure the amount of phosphate in your blood. A phosphate level greater than 4.5 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) indicates you have hyperphosphatemia.
If you have hyperphosphatemia, your provider may then order additional tests to check for kidney disease. These tests may include:
Hyperphosphatemia treatment depends on what’s causing phosphate to build up in your blood. Certain foods, drinks and medications can elevate your phosphate levels. You may need to limit or eliminate some foods and drinks from your diet, or you may need to find alternative medicines that have lower phosphate levels.
Your provider may also prescribe medicines that make phosphate harder for your body to absorb, so more phosphate passes out of your body when you urinate (pee). These medicines include:
If kidney failure is causing your high phosphate levels, your provider may order dialysis. Dialysis does the work of your kidneys. It removes excess fluid and waste products from your blood, including phosphate.
Foods and drinks that have high levels of phosphorus include:
Your healthcare provider may refer you to a renal (kidney) dietitian. A renal dietitian is a food and nutrition expert who specializes in kidney health. They’ll work with you to develop a special renal diet that limits the amount of phosphate in your body.
The best way to prevent hyperphosphatemia is to be aware of your kidney health and to limit the amounts of phosphate and calcium you put in your body. If you’re at risk of hyperphosphatemia, talk to a healthcare provider. They may refer you to a nephrologist. A nephrologist is a doctor who specializes in conditions that affect your kidneys.
See your healthcare provider right away if you have hyperphosphatemia and develop symptoms of kidney disease or kidney failure.
Hyperphosphatemia is a condition in which the phosphate levels in your blood are too high.
Hypocalcemia is a condition in which the calcium levels in your blood are too low. Hypocalcemia is usually a side effect of other conditions, including hyperphosphatemia.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Hyperphosphatemia is a condition in which you have too much phosphate in your blood. It’s not a common condition among most people throughout the world. However, it’s very common if you have advanced chronic kidney disease or kidney failure. It usually doesn’t have symptoms — most people don’t realize they have hyperphosphatemia until it causes another condition with observable symptoms.
You may feel anxious or overwhelmed if you have hyperphosphatemia, especially if you require dialysis to help treat it. These feelings are normal. Talk to your healthcare provider about any concerns or questions you may have. They can answer your questions and provide support and advice on how you can best treat hyperphosphatemia.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 10/14/2022.
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