Hyperphosphatemia Causes and Treatment

Hyperphosphatemia: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis And Treatment

Hyperphosphatemia is the condition that indicates high levels of phosphate or phosphorus. Phosphate is the chemical you can find in your body. It is the electrolyte charged electrically with the mineral phosphorous. Phosphorus is present in several food items. Phosphorous that occurs naturally can support your teeth and bones development. It helps to turn the food you consume into energy. So, your body uses energy for everyday functions. The phosphate also builds the cell membranes. It is all fine when the levels of phosphate do not exceed its limits. But, excess phosphate amounts can trigger several issues.
The human body has a balance. The high phosphate levels can disrupt the balance. So, it can result in muscle and bone problems. It also increases your risk of strokes and heart attacks. Any medical condition can elevate the phosphate levels in your blood. Therefore, you need to seek medical assistance to alleviate the underlying condition. The combination of medication, diet, and other techniques can keep it under control. Read ahead to know more about the problem.

What Is Hyperphosphatemia?

The condition occurs in your body when you have high inorganic phosphate levels in the blood. In normal circumstances, you can find 2.5 to 4.5 mg/dL phosphorous levels in the body. Though slight variation can occur while testing in different laboratories. High levels of phosphate can lead to the condition. The body needs Vitamin D to absorb phosphate completely. The phosphate like calcium is present in your bones and teeth. In normal cases, your kidneys control the phosphate levels. So, the high levels of phosphate indicate the inefficiency of kidneys. So, the improper function of kidneys can result in phosphate accumulation. The body loses its ability to remove the phosphate properly. Therefore, people suffering from chronic kidney disease or end-stage kidney disease have a problem. Other health problems can also lead to high phosphate levels.

Symptoms Of Hyperphosphatemia

The condition does not any visible symptoms. So, it is difficult to spot in its early stages. You experience the symptoms of the underlying medical condition first. For example, if diabetes triggers high phosphate levels, then you detect the high blood sugar levels. But, in most cases, you know the problem only when your blood accumulate high phosphates. It is due to the fact that elevated phosphates can result in other problems.

Mineral And Bone Problems

When you suffer from hyperphosphatemia, you can suffer from bone disorders and mineral problems. You need minerals for your bones to grow. It also influences your hormone production. So, it is integral to the growth and strength of the bones. The main function of your kidneys is to balance the calcium and phosphorous levels in the blood. The imbalance can decrease calcium levels. So, it results in the weakening of bones. So, it can lead to a mineral imbalance. Patients with chronic kidney disease suffer from the issue. The high phosphate levels make it difficult to have dialysis.

The main problem is the delayed appearance of the symptoms. So, you may never know the problem has affected you. It can continue to grow gradually. You may notice it only when your bones become weaker. The severe pain in the bones and joints can indicate something is wrong. Children with kidney disease can get affected by the problem. Children have bones in their developing stage. Therefore, the problem can have serious consequences like:

  • The bone disorder can result in stunted growth of the children. Hence, children may not grow to their full height.
  • The abnormal growth structure of the bones in the legs. Hence, the legs have inward or outward bend. The problem is referred to as renal rickets.


Calcification is the condition that causes the calcium to deposit on the tissues or the organs in your body. It can also affect your arteries or veins as the calcium gets deposited in the area. Therefore, it leads to vascular calcification. The condition makes it difficult for the heart to pump the blood needed for your body. So, it can trigger serious complications. The calcification makes dialysis of kidney patients more difficult.

Low Calcium Levels

Low calcium levels in your blood is another sign of high phosphate levels. It is specifically evident in people with chronic kidney disease. So, you can see the following signs when the phosphate level increases and calcium levels drop:

  • Muscle Cramps
  • Numbness around the mouth
  • Tingling sensation around the mouth region
  • Weak Bones
  • Joints Pain
  • Bone Pain
  • Red Eyes
  • Rash
  • Itchy Skin

Causes Of Hyperphosphatemia

High levels of phosphorous can disrupt your body function. So, what exactly causes the elevated levels of phosphorous? Phosphorous can occur naturally in food. So, you can consume around 800 to 1200 mg of phosphorous. Certain food contains more phosphorous content in it. So, the food high in phosphorus are:

  • Dairy
  • Red Meat
  • Fortified Cereal
  • Chicken

The phosphate is essential for the growth as well as the development of your cells, teeth, and bones. It is also present in small amounts in your blood. But, the excess phosphate indicates problems. Read ahead to know the different causes of hyperphosphatemia. The main causes leading to the high phosphorous in your body are:

Kidney Problems

Kidneys are responsible for removing the extra phosphate accumulated in your body. The kidneys maintain the balance required to keep you healthy. But, kidney disease can make the organ inefficient. So, it loses its ability to remove the excess phosphate from the blood. It leads to the hyperphosphatemia.


Certain medications can increase the phosphate levels in the blood. For example, during preparing for a colonoscopy, you may take a laxative. The phosphorous-containing laxative can lead to the condition. Therefore, you need to talk to your doctor before taking such medications.

Uncontrolled Diabetes

Uncontrolled Diabetes

The high levels of sugar can trigger several complications. One among them is the excess phosphorous levels in the blood. So, the failure to get treatment for diabetes can lead to serious problems like organ damage.


It is the hormone disorder. The issue can result in reduced production of the parathyroid hormone. The parathyroid hormone (PTH) is responsible for maintaining the levels of phosphorous. So, the PTH fluctuation can affect the bones and blood.

Diabetic Ketoacidosis

Diabetic Ketoacidosis

The issue arises with uncontrolled diabetes. The issue can cause the running out of insulin. So, harmful ketones can build up in your body. The rising levels of sugar in your blood can disrupt the phosphorous levels.

Eating High Phosphorous Food

Consuming food containing excess phosphorous can increase the levels. It is most common in processed food that uses phosphorous as a preservative. A diet rich in phosphorous can also result in the problem. Consuming excess levels of any minerals can cause problems in the body.


It refers to the low calcium levels in the blood. The decrease in calcium levels can increase phosphorous levels. It can result in the condition.

External Supplement

Taking a phosphate supplement can trigger the issue. You can get the required phosphorous levels in your body from your regular diet. So, you have no need to consume excess phosphorous levels. The body can regulate the levels with normal intake. But, taking more than 250mg of phosphorous supplements can create an imbalance in the body.

Complications Due To Hyperphosphatemia

Though it may sound simple, hyperphosphatemia can cause severe complications. Calcium can combine with phosphate to trigger condition like hypocalcemia. The low levels of calcium in the blood can cause severe complications. The low calcium levels left untreated can result in the following conditions:

Secondary Hyperparathyroidism

Secondary Hyperparathyroidism

The high parathyroid hormone levels by the parathyroid gland can result in the issue. The reduced calcium levels can lead to hyperplasia glands malfunction. The excess secretion can trigger the complication. Kidney patients can suffer from the issue. Therefore, the problem requires immediate treatment.


Low levels of calcium can result in seizures. It is the uncontrolled disturbance in your brain. The sudden disturbance can trigger several changes. So, the changes include the change in your behavior, feeling or movements. You can also experience a change in the levels of consciousness.



Untreated hyperphosphatemia can result in osteodystrophy. The problem causes dystrophic bone growth. Renal diseases are the root cause of the problem. So, the kidney problems can create disturbance in the phosphorous and calcium metabolism leading to bone disease.

The complications can increase your chances of losing your life. Severe complication needs immediate treatment. Therefore, you need to seek medical help to manage hyperphosphatemia.

Diagnosis Of Hyperphosphatemia

Do you suspect hyperphosphatemia? Then, seek the assistance of a doctor. your doctor can perform the diagnostic test to detect the problem. it is also helpful in uncovering the underlying health issue resulting in the problem. So, the doctor performs the following diagnostic tests:

Physical Examination

The doctor can perform the physical examination to detect the problems. Your doctor can ask you about medical history. It provides in-depth information about your condition. So, based on the physical examination, your doctor can order other tests to confirm the problem.

Phosphate Test

The preliminary test that detects the presence of phosphorous levels in your blood is the phosphate test. The test can determine the elevated levels of phosphorous in people who are malnourished, diabetic, or kidney patients. The blood from your vein gets tested in the laboratory. The plasma (the liquid part of the blood) can help measure the levels.

Urine Tests

Urine Tests

The urine test can measure phosphate levels. The timed urine test can detect the levels. your urine sample collected over a period of 24 hours can determine hyperphosphatemia.


Your doctor can order x-ray tests. The imaging tests can provide a comprehensive view of the bones. So, the x-ray is the significance test for a patient showing symptoms of the bone disorder. The x-ray images can show the calcium deposits in the bones, organs or veins. It can also show the changes in your bone structure. Therefore, it becomes easy to detect the weakness you can suffer due to the problem.

In most cases, hyperphosphatemia gets detected during routine checking. Therefore, kidney patients who are susceptible to the issue need regular monitoring. The finding of the problem at the right time can overcome the complications associated with it.

Treatment Options For Hyperphosphatemia

Once you observe the symptoms associated with the issue, get immediate medical care. You need to seek your doctor’s help to assess the severity of the problem. So, your doctor can use various diagnostic techniques to determine the problem. Once the problem is diagnosed, the doctors adopt the best treatment plan. The treatment plan is based on the underlying disease.

Treating Kidney Problem

Kidney problem is the main problem associated with high phosphorus levels. So, if your doctor suspects the kidney problem, the best treatment involves the following:

Reduce Phosphorus Intake

Certain food items contain phosphorous. You need to keep track of such foods. So, you can avoid such foods. It will help lower the levels. The food that can trigger hyperphosphatemia are:

  • Red Meat
  • Milk
  • Aerated Drinks (like Colas)
  • Frozen Meals
  • Snack Products
  • Packaged Meats
  • Processed Cheeses
  • Bread
  • Additive And Preservatives

Including a healthy diet is important to balance the phosphorus levels with the protein. So, include food like fish, chicken, other poultry, beans, nuts, and eggs.


Hemodialysis can remove the excess phosphorous levels from the blood. Though it may not remove it within the first hour, you can expect good results. The kidney dialysis can help the patients by removing the waste. With the damaged kidneys, it becomes difficult to remove wastes. Therefore, the dialysis can remove the salt, excess water, wastes, and chemicals. The chemicals including phosphorous get flushed out with the dialysis.


Kidney patients need to take the medications to lower the phosphate levels. So, it can block the excess absorption of phosphorus by the small intestine. Along with the diet as well as dialysis, your doctor can prescribe medications. It will flush out the excess chemicals including phosphate. So, the following medication can prove effective:

  • Calcium-based phosphate binders (for example calcium acetate and calcium carbonate)
  • Sevelamer carbonate (Renvela)
  • Lanthanum (Fosrenol)
  • Sevelamer hydrochloride (Renagel)

You need to take the medication as prescribed for overcoming the hyperphosphatemia due to kidney disease.

Preventing Hyperphosphatemia

The high phosphate levels indicate an underlying health condition. So, you can take preventive steps to avoid getting affected by the disease. You can also make a transformation in your lifestyle to avoid the issue from affecting your life. You can follow the steps suggested below:

Detect Health Issues

In most cases, underlying kidney disease can elevate the phosphate levels. So, you need to reduce the risk by slowing the damage to the kidneys. If you already suffer from kidney disease, then ensure you take medications properly. You also need to monitor the following:

Avoid water retention. It can overwhelm the already damaged kidneys. So, maintain the fluid levels in the body by taking diuretic pills. It can restore the correct fluid balance in the body.



    can worsen the kidney problem. The elevated pressure levels weaken the blood vessels of the kidneys. It deprives the kidneys of getting the oxygen-rich blood. Therefore, take the blood pressure medications (ACE inhibitors).

  • Diabetes is another important disease that worsens the problem. So, monitor your blood sugar levels. You need to take medications prescribed by the doctor to keep the sugar levels under control.

Avoid Processed Foods

Some processed food contain phosphorous. It is used as preservatives. Therefore, always check the ingredients list. The letter PHOS indicates the presence of phosphorous. So, if you have high levels of phosphate, then avoid such food items completely.

Good Diet

A healthy diet can keep away most of the diseases. So, you need to consult a nutritionist to get the right idea. The professional can guide you in the right direction. It will help you understand the foods you need to avoid. Eating a diet with the right amount of minerals can manage your kidney problems and diabetes. Therefore, get professional assistance to include the right foods in your diet.

Control Phosphate Levels

You need to control the phosphate as well as calcium levels. it will sustain the balance in the body. So, you can avoid hyperphosphatemia by eating certain foods and avoiding others. Some food item contains phosphorous in it naturally. So, avoid foods like milk, peas, peanut butter, etc. in your diet.


Hyperphosphatemia can increase your risk of getting affected by serious medical problems. You can suffer from other medical complications due to the condition. Therefore, you need to get treatment for the problem. The immediate medical care can prevent any complication associated with the high phosphate levels. It spots the underlying health problem triggering the high phosphate levels. Therefore, getting treatment for the health issue can prevent fatal complication. From chronic kidney disease to bone problems, getting treatment can improve your quality of life.

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