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A potassium test analyses how much potassium is in the blood. Potassium is both an electrolyte and a mineral. It helps maintain the water and electrolyte balance in the body. Potassium is important for how nerves and muscles work.
Potassium can be analysed individually, but it is often included in broader tests such as an electrolyte panel, renal panel, or basic or comprehensive metabolic panel.
The other names are serum potassium, serum K+.
There is only one parameter.
A potassium (K+) level measures the amount of potassium that is present in a sample of either blood or urine. Potassium is an essential nutrient that is commonly found throughout the body and is necessary for healthy cell activity. Without adequate potassium levels, the heart and other muscles are unable to function.
Your diet, made up of the foods and drinks you consume, is a source of potassium. Some people also take potassium from dietary supplements.
In normal circumstances, your body absorbs and stores the potassium that it requires, and the kidneys remove excess potassium primarily through urine. In this way, potassium measurements can be detected as disruptions to this process of how the body stores, uses, and excretes potassium.
Blood levels of potassium are frequently analysed in a panel test along with other electrolytes, including sodium, chloride, and bicarbonate.
In some urine potassium tests, creatinine is analysed with potassium. Creatinine is a byproduct of muscle activity. Creatinine is excreted in urine at a relatively steady pace from day to day.
Potassium (K+) test is often performed as part of the basic metabolic panel, which is a group of chemical tests processed on your blood serum.
A healthcare provider might recommend a potassium test during a routine physical or for various other reasons, including:
Checking for or monitoring electrolyte imbalance
Monitoring certain medications that affect potassium values, particularly diuretics, heart medications, and high blood pressure medications
Diagnosing heart problems and high blood pressure
Diagnosing or monitoring kidney disease
Checking for metabolic acidosis: usually done when the kidney doesn’t remove enough acid from the body or when the body produces too much acid, as may happen in diabetes that’s not well managed.
Diagnosing alkalosis: a condition in which the body fluids have excess alkali.
Finding the cause of a paralysis attack
Potassium will help to reveal whether your potassium is normal or not.
No special preparation is required.
This test requires a blood sample.
A healthcare provider, who is also called a phlebotomist, usually performs blood draws, including those for potassium tests, but any healthcare provider trained in drawing blood can perform this task. These samples are sent to a lab where a medical laboratory scientist prepares the samples and performs the tests on analysers or manually.
You may expect to experience the following during the blood test or a blood draw:
You have to sit comfortably on the chair, and a healthcare provider will check your arms for an easily accessible vein. It is the inner part of your arm on the other side of your elbow.
Once the phlebotomist has located a vein, they will clean and disinfect the area with an alcohol swab.
Then they will insert a needle into your vein to draw a blood sample. They can feel like a small pinch.
After they have inserted the needle, the required amount of blood will be collected in a test tube.
When they have collected the required blood for the test, they will remove the needle and hold a cotton ball or gauze on the pricked site to stop any bleeding.
They will apply a band-aid over the pricked site, and the blood collection is finished.
This process takes less than five minutes.
Once the phlebotomist has collected the blood sample, it will be sent to the laboratory for processing. When the reports are ready, your healthcare provider will share the results with you.
These blood tests are very common, and they don’t carry any significant risks. You can have a slight pain like an ant bite when the needle gets inserted, and a small bruise might develop there.
This report is available via email or WhatsApp within 6 hours after the collection of blood sample.
A potassium (K+) test requires carefully considering the test results, laboratory reference range, and your health situation. Because potassium is frequently analysed with other electrolytes, levels might be evaluated together.
For a blood test, the test report should list the amount of potassium, which is measured in either milliequivalents per litre (mEq/L) or millimoles per litre (mmol/L). Test report will also show a reference range, which is what the laboratory considers to be an expected range for potassium levels.
A common reference range for potassium is around 3.5 to 5.1 mmol/L, although there may be slight variation between laboratories. For this reason, it is important to look for the specific reference intervals listed on your test report.
Normal ranges might vary slightly among different laboratories. Some of the labs use different measurements or may test different samples. Speak to the doctor about the meaning of your specific test results.
Serum Creatinine, Electrolytes
How do I book a Potassium (K+) test at home?
Log on to www.orangehealth.in and submit your details. Our highly trained, professional, and vaccinated eMedics will be at your doorstep within 60 minutes or at the time booked by you.
Frequently Asked Questions on Potassium Test
A potassium test can be recommended to help diagnose or monitor kidney disease, which is the most common cause of high potassium levels. A doctor can recommend the test if you are having heart-related problems such as high blood pressure or hypertension.
High potassium happens suddenly. You may feel heart palpitations, shortness of breath, chest pain, nausea, or vomiting. This is a life-threatening condition that requires immediate medical attention.
A low potassium deficiency has many causes. The common cause is excessive potassium loss in urine due to medications that increase urination. Also known as water pills or diuretics, these types of medications are often recommended for people who have high blood pressure or heart disease.
Low potassium, or hypokalemia, has many causes. The most common cause is excessive potassium loss in the urine due to prescribed medications that increase urination. These types of medications are often recommended for people who have high blood pressure or heart disease.