Potassium

The Potassium test contains 1 test with 1 biomarker.

Description: A Potassium test is normally part of an electrolyte panel or Comprehensive Metabolic panel to help diagnose and monitor any electrolyte imbalances.

Also Known As: K Test

Collection Method: Blood Draw

Specimen Type: Serum

Test Preparation: No preparation required

When is a Potassium test ordered?

When patients get a normal medical exam or are being assessed for a serious illness, potassium levels may be required.

When a healthcare provider is diagnosing and monitoring hypertension, diabetic ketoacidosis, and renal disease, as well as monitoring a patient on dialysis, diuretic medication, or intravenous fluids, potassium tests may be performed at regular intervals.

What does a Potassium blood test check for?

Potassium is a necessary electrolyte for cell metabolism. It assists in the delivery of nutrients into cells and the removal of waste materials from cells. It also plays a role in muscle function by assisting in the transmission of messages between neurons and muscles. This test determines how much potassium is present in the blood and/or urine.

Potassium, along with other electrolytes like sodium, chloride, and bicarbonate, aids in fluid regulation and maintains a stable acid-base balance in the body. Potassium is found in all body fluids, although it is concentrated in the cells. Only a trace amount is found in fluids outside of cells and in the blood's liquid portion.

The majority of the potassium we require comes from the foods we eat, and most people consume enough potassium. The body consumes what it needs and excretes the rest through the urine. The body works to keep the potassium level in the blood within a restricted range. Aldosterone, a hormone generated by the kidney's adrenal glands, is the key regulator.

Because potassium levels in the blood are so low, even little adjustments can have a big impact. There might be major health effects if potassium levels are either low or too high; a person may get shock, respiratory failure, or heart rhythm abnormalities. An abnormal potassium level can affect neuron and muscle function; for example, the heart muscle's capacity to contract may be impaired.

Lab tests often ordered with a Potassium test:

  • Chloride
  • Sodium
  • Bicarbonate
  • Electrolytes
  • Basic Metabolic Panel (BMP)
  • Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP)
  • Aldosterone
  • Renin

Conditions where a Potassium test is recommended:

  • Hypertension
  • Acidosis
  • Alkalosis
  • Kidney Disease
  • Heart Disease
  • Conn Syndrome
  • Addison Disease

How does my health care provider use a Potassium test?

A potassium test is used to detect irregular potassium values, such as high and low potassium. It's frequently utilized as part of a standard physical's electrolyte panel or basic metabolic panel.

Potassium is a necessary electrolyte for cell metabolism. It assists in the delivery of nutrients into cells and the removal of waste materials from cells. It also has a role in muscular function, assisting in the transmission of messages between nerves and muscles, as well as heart function.

The potassium test can be used to detect and/or monitor kidney disease, which is the most prevalent cause of elevated potassium levels in the blood. When someone has diarrhea and vomiting, excessive sweating, or a range of symptoms, it can also be utilized to check for abnormal levels. Many disorders can cause elevated potassium levels in the blood. If metabolic acidosis is suspected, or if high blood pressure or other indications of disease are present, a healthcare practitioner may order this test, along with others, to discover an electrolyte imbalance. When there are symptoms involving the heart, potassium in particular might be assessed.

The potassium test can also be used to track the effects of medicines that cause potassium loss in the kidneys, such as diuretics, or pharmaceuticals that reduce potassium clearance from the body, resulting in high potassium levels.

What do my Potassium test results mean?

Conditions that cause high potassium levels include:

  • Kidney failure
  • The disease Addison's
  • Tissue damage Infection
  • Diabetes
  • Dehydration
  • Too much potassium intake
  • Excessive IV potassium in individuals receiving intravenous fluids
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines, ACE inhibitors, beta blockers, and potassium-sparing diuretics are among the pharmaceuticals that can induce excessive potassium in a tiny percentage of persons.

Low potassium levels can be detected in a variety of situations, including:

  • Conn syndrome
  • Diarrhea and vomiting.
  • An acetaminophen overdose complication
  • When someone with diabetes takes insulin, their potassium level may drop, especially if they have not properly managed their diabetes.
  • Low potassium is usually caused by "water pills," and if someone is taking them, their potassium level will be checked on a regular basis by their healthcare professional.

Furthermore, medicines including corticosteroids, beta-adrenergic agonists like isoproterenol, alpha-adrenergic antagonists like clonidine, antibiotics like gentamicin and carbenicillin, and the antifungal amphotericin B can cause potassium loss.

Urine potassium concentrations must be compared to blood potassium levels. Because the body generally removes excess potassium, the concentration in the urine may be higher than the blood. When the body loses too much potassium, it can also show up in the urine; in this situation, the blood level will be normal to low. If potassium levels in the blood are low due to insufficient consumption, urine concentrations will be low as well.

We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results.

The following is a list of what is included in the item above. Click the test(s) below to view what biomarkers are measured along with an explanation of what the biomarker is measuring.

Also known as: K

Potassium

Potassium is a mineral that the body needs to work normally. It helps nerves and muscles communicate. It also helps move nutrients into cells and waste products out of cells. A diet rich in potassium helps to offset some of sodium's harmful effects on blood pressure.
*Process times are an estimate and are not guaranteed. The lab may need additional time due to weather, holidays, confirmation/repeat testing, or equipment maintenance.

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