Alterations in potassium balance occur frequently in all patient populations, but in particular, among older adults. Physicians commonly encounter such disorders when taking care of patients in the clinic or in the hospital. Most often the etiology of such disturbances is due to prescribed medications, but a number of clinical conditions exist which predispose people to both hyperkalemia and hypokalemia. These conditions can have grave consequences if not addressed quickly. Furthermore, the approach to definitive treatment depends on the underlying physiology that often occurs at the tubular level within the kidney.
Key words: potassium balance, hyperkalemia, hypokalemia, older adults.