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Potassium is a really important element for your body, and helps nerves to fire. Without sufficient quantities of it (a condition called hypokalaemia) you can develop cardiac inexcitability, slow movement, alkalosis confusion, coma and possibly even death.

That said, the body needs to regulate potassium very tightly, as too much (hyperkalaemia) can cause a racing heart rate, muscle spasms, acidosis and also death.

The body is well adapted to dealing with excess potassium. Much of it is stored in muscle cells, red blood cells and liver cells.

The kidney deals with much of the excretion of excess potassium. However, if it's damaged (for example, in chronic kidney disease) it can't do this as effectively, and potassium can build up in the blood, which can cause some the effects described earlier. It's not the high potassium itself that's likely to be doing the damage to the kidney, more that damaged kidneys cannot process potassium.

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15y ago
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13y ago

Yes drinking too much water stress the kidneys by increasing blood volume - forcing extra fluids into body tissue and will even kill you.

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Q: What does too much potassium do to your kidneys?
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