Potassium (K+) (Serum) Lab Test

Hypokalemia test
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Clinical Definition of Potassium (K+) (Serum)

Potassium is essential mineral in our blood that helps regulate the heartbeat, potassium also assists in muscle building and transmitting electrical signals between cells and nerves.

It is an electrolyte that works with other electrolytes to help maintain and regulate the quantities of fluid (water and electrolyte) balance in the body, trigger muscle contraction, and maintain a stable acid-base balance in blood and tissue cells. Potassium deficiency could be caused by excessive diarrhoea and vomiting.

When do you expect results?

24 to 36 Hours

Why Get Tested?

The test determines levels of potassium in the blood. It is carried out to detect whether potassium concentration is within normal limits or not.

A potassium test could be ordered in certain cases like:-

  • Routine medical screening as part of an electrolyte or metabolic panel To assess an electrolyte imbalance To check chronic or acute hyperkalemia or hypokalemia
  • At regular intervals to monitor the effectiveness of treatment, for too low or too high potassium levels
  • To diagnose or monitor kidney disease
  • To check for signs of high blood pressure or heart problems
  • For a suspected case of metabolic acidosis (caused by uncontrolled diabetes) or alkalosis (caused by excess vomiting)
  • Occasionally, the potassium test may be done in persons who are having an attack of paralysis

Reason to take Potassium (K+) (Serum) Test

Symptoms are fairly nonspecific and generally include:-

  • Dry skin
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Malaise
  • Slow reflexes
  • Palpitations
  • Muscle weakness
  • Myalgia
  • Muscle cramps
  • Constipation Further complications may show more complex symptoms such as:-
  • Elevation of blood pressure
  • Cardiac arrhythmia
  • Mild hyperventilation
  • Metabolic acidosis
  • Electrolyte imbalance

Preparations Needed for Potassium (K+) (Serum) Test

Preparatory instructions before the test *:

No Fasting Required.
No other special preparations required.

Sample Required?

Specimen type: Serum (Blood Sample)

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

Understanding results of Potassium (K+) (Serum)

Reference RangeInterpretation
3.5 to 5.1 mmol/LMale
3.5 to 5.1 mmol/LfeMale

‘*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'

References

  1. https://www.mayoclinic.org/symptoms/hyperkalemia/basics/definition/sym-20050776
  2. https://medlineplus.gov/labtests/potassiumbloodtest.html
  3. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/003484.htm
  4. https://labtestsonline.org/tests/potassium