Hypermagnesemia or high magnesium levels

Hypermagnesemia is defined as an excessively high concentration of magnesium in the blood. The normal value of this element in an adult is 1.5 to 2.5 mEq / L. When it exceeds that range in laboratory tests, there is talk of hypermagnesemia.

The presence of hypermagnesemia implies the existence of a hydroelectrolytic imbalance in the body. Magnesium is one of the body's electrolytes. This means that it carries an electric charge when it is dissolved in body fluids. However, most of the magnesium in the body has no electric charge.

In any case, hypermagnesemia is a rare condition, which in most cases is associated with kidney problems. The most common is that it only takes place in those who suffer from kidney failure.

Magnesium in the body

Magnesium is a fundamental element for all living things.. It constitutes a mineral nutrient, which is essential for life. It is present in the cells and plays a definitive role in its balance and its proper functioning.

There are more than 300 enzymes that require magnesium to perform some of its most important functions. At first, it is the cells themselves that regulate the flow of magnesium. From there, this element activates and moderates different biochemical reactions of the body.

Keeping magnesium levels normal is essential for health. Deficiency or excess of this element may give rise to problems of the heart and / or nervous system. Therefore, hypermagnesemia is a delicate condition, which can have very serious consequences.

Causes of hypermagnesemia

The kidneys are the organs responsible for excreting magnesium. Therefore, any abnormal condition or any damage to those organs can give rise to hypermagnesemia. The main causes Of this are the following:

  • Renal insufficiency: It is the most frequent cause of hypermagnesemia. Kidney failure prevents magnesium from being excreted normally.
  • Excessive magnesium intake: Feeding or excessive use of some substances, such as laxatives, antacids or some dietary supplements, can cause this problem.
  • Chemotherapy: Some chemotherapies lead to the development of tumor lysis syndrome. This, in turn, causes magnesium levels to increase.
  • Extensive burns.
  • Other chronic diseases: for example, hypothyroidism and Addison's disease.

You may be interested: What is Addison's disease?

Symptoms and diagnosis

The diagnosis of hypermagnesemia is made by blood tests. As usual, when magnesium levels are only slightly elevated, no recognizable symptoms occur. If the magnesium index continues to increase, the following symptoms are very likely to appear:

  • Muscular weakness.
  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Headache.
  • Irregular or slow heartbeat.
  • Heat and redness in the face.
  • Drowsiness.
  • Dizziness, fainting and / or slow reflexes.
  • Slow breathing.
  • Muscle paralysis

When a person has hypermagnesemia and falls asleep, without being able to wake them up, or has a lot of difficulty moving their arms and legs, they should go to the hospital immediately. Likewise, if breathing and heart rate are slow and there is drowsiness and muscle weakness, it is advisable to consult the doctor sooner.

Also read: Hypomagnesemia: low level of magnesium in the blood

Hypermagnesemia treatment

The treatment for level high magnesium in the blood depends entirely on the cause that produces it. Those who suffer from renal insufficiency, which are the most affected group, must follow strict medical control regarding the medications they consume and their general state of health. Frequently, in these cases, you go to dialysis.

Renal dialysis is a treatment that helps the kidneys eliminate some chemicals, as well as wastes from the blood, when the kidneys cannot fulfill this function on their own. Sometimes dialysis is not necessary, but a pharmacological treatment is enough To correct the situation.

Usually, calcium gluconate or diuretics are prescribed. The medication should be applied rigorously. In general, laxatives or antacids containing magnesium should be avoided. In case a person tends to constipate, it is best to regulate this situation through a balanced diet, rich in fiber.

It is always convenient to consult the doctor for the drugs that should be used, even if these are over-the-counter. It is also necessary to take supplements containing magnesium only after consulting the doctor. They should be kept out of reach of children.