phosphorus (po4) Test

Phosphorus (PO4)

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clinical definition of phosphorus

What is phosphorous? It is a mineral that helps in the formation of bones and teeth. It also aids in the production of protein and energy and helps in the functioning of muscle and nerves. It reduces muscle pain after a workout. Phosphorus arises in blood in the form of inorganic phosphate and organically bound phosphoric acid.

For the growth and maintenance of cells and tissues, phosphorous is essential in the body as it also helps in the formation of DNA & RNA.


what is a phosphorus po4 test?

An inorganic phosphorus blood test or a phosphorous PO4 test is done to determine the amount of phosphorous in your blood.

why do i need this test?

It is natural for the human body to absorb phosphate in the intestines. It is filtered by your kidneys. If this absorption is not happening correctly, your body can retain a vast amount of phosphorous leading to phosphorus deficiency diseases.

Some of the high phosphorus symptoms are

• Loss of appetite

• Anxiety

• Fragile bones

• Still joints

• Numbness

• Weight change

The doctor will advise a phosphatase test if you have the following

• Issues with diabetes

• Any form of hormonal imbalance such as Vitamin D, or PTH (a hormone which balances calcium) and phosphorus

• Malnourishment


what other tests might i have along with this test?

Depending on the results of your inorganic phosphorous serum, the doctor may recommend phosphorus treatment if it is high or low. But before treatment, the doctor may have recommended additional blood tests to confirm the diagnosis or to figure out the diseases associated with it. 


what do my test results mean?

When a patient exhibits phosphorous deficiency symptoms, once tested the result can showcase either low or high levels of phosphorous which are not good. A phosphorus normal range is between 2.3-4.7 mg/dl additional if that is not the case once the results come phosphorus deficiency treatment is given by the doctor.

If the phosphorous is low, then it could be

  • Alcoholism
  • Severe burns
  • Diabetic ketoacidosis (too much acid in the blood)
  • Overuse of diuretics
  • Hypercalcemia (too much calcium)
  • Malnutrition
  • Vitamin D deficiency


 High levels can indicate

  • Hyperparathyroidism
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Liver disease
  • Kidney failure
  • Osteoporosis (a condition that causes brittle and weak bones)

For high phosphorous treatment, the doctor will also recommend a few more additional tests to determine the correct course of treatment 

how is this test done?

To do a phosphorus blood test., a blood sample is collected through a needle insertion into the veins. Once collected the sample is sent to the lab for analysis.

does this test pose any risk?

Just like any other blood test, when you check for phosphorus deficiency diseases, you may feel slight pain when the needle is inserted, soreness, slightly dizzy, bleeding.


what might affect my test results?

If you have had dialysis, it may affect the phosphate levels as well as some medicines might indicate low phosphorous or high phosphorous levels. You may be asked to avoid certain foods before the test such as beans, beer, cheese, chocolate, cola and fish.


sample required

Specimen type: Serum (Blood sample)

Specimen collection procedure: Venipuncture- Collection of blood from a vein, usually from the arm


how do i prepare for the test?

You may be asked to fast from the previous day midnight until the test is over. Your doctor would have given careful instructions, before the test if he suspects you have phosphorous deficiency, do follow them. Also, inform your doctor of any over the counter medicine, herbal supplements, drugs you maybe consuming.


Understanding results ofPhosphorus (PO4)

Reference RangeInterpretation
2.3 – 4.7 mg/dlNormal

‘*A Reference range is a set of values which helps the healthcare professional to interpret a medical test. It may vary with age, gender, and other factors. Reference ranges may also vary between labs, in value & units depending on instruments used and method of establishment of reference ranges’



If you feel you maybe suffering from one or many of the symptoms for a prolonged period if time, it is important to get tested. The phosphorus test costs are reasonable and are available in most hospitals or clinics.