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Hypermagnesemia (High Level of Magnesium in the Blood)

By

James L. Lewis III

, MD, Brookwood Baptist Health and Saint Vincent’s Ascension Health, Birmingham

Last full review/revision Sep 2021| Content last modified Oct 2021
Click here for the Professional Version

In hypermagnesemia, the level of magnesium in blood is too high.

Hypermagnesemia is uncommon. It usually develops only when people with kidney failure Overview of Kidney Failure This chapter includes a new section on COVID-19 and acute kidney injury (AKI). Kidney failure is the inability of the kidneys to adequately filter metabolic waste products from the blood. Kidney... read more are given magnesium (Epsom) salts or take drugs that contain magnesium (such as some antacids or laxatives).

Hypermagnesemia may cause

  • Muscle weakness

  • Low blood pressure

  • Impaired breathing

When hypermagnesemia is severe, the heart can stop beating.

The diagnosis is based on blood tests indicating that the magnesium level is high.

Treatment of Hypermagnesemia

  • Calcium gluconate

  • Diuretics

People with severe hypermagnesemia are given calcium gluconate by vein (intravenously) to block the toxic effect of increased levels of magnesium.

Diuretics, drugs that cause the kidneys to excrete excess fluid (particularly if given intravenously), can be given to increase the kidneys’ excretion of magnesium. However, if the kidneys are not functioning well or if hypermagnesemia is severe, dialysis Dialysis Dialysis is an artificial process for removing waste products and excess fluids from the body, a process that is needed when the kidneys are not functioning properly. There are a number of reasons... read more Dialysis is usually needed.

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