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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
What is hypermagnesemia?
Hypermagnesemia is a condition that develops when the amount of magnesium in your body is too high. Magnesium is a mineral that helps your heart, muscles, and nerves work normally. It also helps strengthen your bones.
What causes hypermagnesemia?
- Kidney failure
- Overdose of magnesium supplements
- Medicines such as antacids, laxatives, and prescription pain medicines
- Lithium therapy
- Tissue breakdown caused by large burns
- Diseases such as hypothyroidism and Addison disease
What are the signs and symptoms of hypermagnesemia?
You may not have any signs and symptoms when your levels are only slightly above normal. As your blood levels of magnesium increase, you may have any of the following:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Muscle weakness
- Facial flushing (warmth and redness)
- Slow or irregular heartbeat
- Drowsiness, lightheadedness, dizziness, or fainting
- Slowed reflexes
- Breathing slower than usual
- Muscle paralysis
How is hypermagnesemia diagnosed?
Your healthcare provider will ask about any medical conditions you have, and medicines and supplements you take. Blood tests will be done to show the level of magnesium in your blood.
How is hypermagnesemia treated?
Treatment depends on the cause of your hypermagnesemia. You may need to stop taking supplements or medicines that contain magnesium. You may need treatment for medical conditions that are causing increased levels of hypermagnesemia. Dialysis may be needed if you have kidney failure. Dialysis is a treatment to remove chemicals and waste from your blood when your kidneys can no longer do this.
How can hypermagnesemia be prevented?
- If you have kidney disease, ask what medicines you can take. Some medicines contain magnesium, or they can affect your magnesium levels. Laxatives and enemas contain magnesium. Your kidneys may not be able to get rid of the magnesium from these and you may develop hypermagnesemia.
- If you take prescription pain medicine, ask about enemas and laxatives. Prescription pain medicine slows your digestive system and may increase the amount of magnesium your body absorbs. The combined use of pain medicine and enemas or laxatives may increase your blood levels of magnesium.
- Take magnesium supplements and antacids as directed. Your blood levels of magnesium may get too high if you take more than the recommended amount.
- Keep magnesium supplements and antacids out of the reach of children. Your child may have an overdose of magnesium if he or she takes these.
Have someone call 911 for any of the following:
- You cannot be woken.
- You cannot move your arms or legs.
When should I seek immediate care?
- Your heart is beating slower than usual, or you have an irregular heartbeat.
- You feel extremely drowsy.
- You feel lightheaded, dizzy, or like you are going to faint.
- You have muscle weakness or slow reflexes.
- Your breathing is slower than usual, or you have trouble breathing.
When should I contact my healthcare provider?
- You have nausea or are vomiting.
- You have facial flushing.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
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