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Another task on your kidneys’ to-do list: Maintaining a balance of minerals in your blood. Known as electrolytes, minerals like potassium, calcium, and sodium play a key role in muscle function. “One of potassium’s main jobs is to control how your muscles react and contract,” says Michael Spigler, vice president of kidney disease education at the American Kidney Fund. “If potassium levels are too high or out of whack because your kidneys are not working properly, it can cause muscle aches and heart palpitations.” High potassium levels can also be life threatening.

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