Hyperphosphatemia

Hyperphosphatemia is a condition in which there is abnormal increase in phosphate level of the body. Phosphorus is an essential element required for mineralizing bones and for genetic coding. Normal level of this element (2.5 -4.5 mg/dl) is vital for carrying metabolic process. If the level of phosphorus goes above 5 mg/dl then the person is said to have hyperphosphatemia. Children and menopause stage women will have slight increase in phosphorus level but the level should not go beyond the maximum reading. This increase can be as a result of reduction of calcium levels in blood.

A healthy person will excrete unwanted phosphate efficiently retaining only the required level by the body. It does not matter if your kidneys can effectively expel excess of phosphate even if you take excess of phosphate daily. One can include up to 4000 mg of phosphate each day.

It is estimated that 250,000 people have hyperphosphatemia in the U.S. alone and individuals with very high level for long time will have high mortality rate. Even if you have chronic renal problems but your phosphate levels are under control, then it may not cause any serious consequences.

For children the level of phosphate in blood can be from 3-6 mg/dl and for adults it can be anywhere from 2.5-4.5 mg/dl.

Symptoms :

If the phosphate level in blood is increased, there is chance for the cardiovascular and nervous system to get affected. On reaching high levels of phosphate the person will have confused thoughts, convulsions, delirium (a state of fantasy), muscle cramps and even coma. The affected person may have parasthesia problem in the neuromuscular activities. His cardiovascular systems may get affected leading to heart failure, heart attack and increased blood pressure.

There can be cataract problem in the eyes which can cause blurred vision. Depending on the severity of the symptoms, the person needs to be hospitalized.

Causes :

The level of phosphorus may increase due to number of factors. Normal quantity of this element is necessary for metabolic function and balancing cellular activities.

Kidney failure or any type of kidney disease can cause hyperphosphatemia. Kidneys play a vital role in excreting excess amount of phosphorous from the body and the problem arises when it cannot perform well. This leads to accumulation of phosphorus in blood.

Severe injury or trauma or burns can cause cellular injury leading to increase in phosphorus content.
In case the person has taken large amounts of biphosphonate or vitamin D it can cause hyperphosphatemia.

Chronic condition of diabetes and prolonged use of alcohol can cause this disorder. If the levels of thyroid hormone changes the function of kidney may get reduced directly. For instance low levels of parathyroid can induce increased re-uptake of phosphate causing excess of phosphorus. Tumor lysis syndrome will directly cause increased phosphate level.

Who are at risk ?

People who have got kidney disease or those who have undergone dialysis, those who are affected with cancer or bone tumor and persons taking chemotherapy and prolonged use of antacids and potassium phosphate are prone to get hyperphosphatemia.

Treatment :

The affected person may need emergency treatment if the condition is severe and in case if the person’s cardiovascular system has been affected. For managing hyperphosphatemia your doctor will start giving diuretics which will lower the phosphate level directly. The drugs like Lasix will facilitate discharge of phosphate by way of renal excretion.

Diet will have to be taken according to your doctor’s advice. Foods rich in phosphorus must be avoided and you will have to follow the food chart given by your dietician. Phosphate binders will be administered to prevent accumulation of phosphate. It would limit the absorption of phosphate by the intestine.

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