Hyperkalemic Periodic

What is Hyperkalemic Periodic Paralysis?

Hyperkalemic periodic paralysis (HyperPP) is a rare, inherited, genetic disorder which affects how the body works and controls muscle movement. It causes muscles to become weak or paralyzed suddenly, either in episodes or chronically. Symptoms of HyperPP can vary in intensity and duration, and can last from minutes to hours or even days. It is most commonly seen in males, although it can affect females as well.

The condition is caused by mutations in several genes, which are responsible for controlling sodium and potassium levels within the body. These mutations result in abnormal levels of sodium and potassium, leading to weakened or paralyzed muscles. HyperPP can be diagnosed using electromyography (EMG) and muscle biopsy.

Symptoms of Hyperkalemic Periodic Paralysis

The most common symptom of HyperPP is episodes of muscle weakness or paralysis. These episodes can be triggered by exercise, cold temperatures, high potassium levels, stress, and emotional upset. Other symptoms can include:

  • Numbness or tingling in the limbs
  • Muscle stiffness or twitching
  • Difficulty breathing during episodes
  • Abnormal heart rhythm
  • Fatigue between episodes

Treatments for Hyperkalemic Periodic Paralysis

HyperPP is typically treated by managing the levels of sodium and potassium in the body. Dietary changes can help to keep these levels in balance and reduce symptom severity. Low-sodium and low-potassium meals can be beneficial. Additionally, medications such as diuretics, beta-blockers, and ACE inhibitors may be used to regulate the levels of sodium and potassium in the body.

In more severe cases, it may be necessary to use electrolyte replacement therapy (ERT) or intravenous calcium infusions. ERT replenishes the amount of sodium and potassium in the body, which helps to normalize the body’s electrical system. Intravenous calcium also helps to restore healthy levels of calcium in the body.