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Kidney disease is a common cause of a high potassium level. Either high or low potassium levels can cause heart problems. Low potassium can cause muscle cramps. You often have a blood test with your yearly physical that checks for your potassium levels. If you have any of the conditions mentioned above, your doctor may want you to be tested.
Potassium Blood Test – Low, High, And Normal Range 5 min read August 12, 2019 Potassium is an important electrolyte of the body and as with other electrolytes, the optimum concentration of potassium is required for healthy physiological functions.
What is a potassium blood test? A potassium blood test measures the amount of potassium in your blood. Potassium is a type of electrolyte. Electrolytes are electrically charged minerals in your body that help control muscle and nerve activity, maintain fluid levels, and perform other important functions.
If you have extremely high potassium levels, you’ll need to be hospitalized until your levels return to normal. How it’s diagnosed A blood test or urine test can help your doctor diagnose ...
The normal potassium level in the blood is 3.5-5.0 milliEquivalents per liter (mEq/L). Potassium levels between 5.1 mEq/L to 6.0 mEq/L are considered to be mild hyperkalemia. Potassium levels of 6.1 mEq/L to 7.0 mEq/L are moderate hyperkalemia, and levels above 7 mEq/L reflect s evere hyperkalemia.
Test Overview. A potassium test checks how much potassium is in the blood. Potassium is both an electrolyte and a mineral. It helps keep the water (the amount of fluid inside and outside the body's cells) and electrolyte balance of the body. Potassium is also important in how nerves and muscles work.
A potassium test measures the amount of potassium in blood serum, the fluid part of your blood. Potassium is a mineral that helps: nerves and muscles "communicate" nutrients move into cells and waste products move out of cells ; the heart function healthily ; A potassium test may be recommended to help diagnose or monitor kidney disease, which is the most common cause of high potassium levels.
A Normal Potassium Level Has Little to Do With Potassium. The normal potassium levels are slightly different for every laboratory and run between about 3.5-5.0 mEq/L - pronounced milli-equivalents per liter which is simply a measurement of concentration in the blood. This is a commonly done test that nearly everyone sees on their Metabolic...
Modern hospital hematology laboratory A blood test is a laboratory analysis performed on a blood sample that is usually extracted from a vein in the arm using a hypodermic needle, or via fingerprick. Multiple tests for specific blood components, such as a glucose test or a cholesterol test, are often grouped together into one test panel called a blood panel or blood work. Blood tests are often used in health care to determine physiological and biochemical states, such as disease, mineral content, pharmaceutical drug effectiveness, and organ function. Typical clinical blood panels include a basic metabolic panel or a complete blood count. Blood tests are also used in drug tests to detect drug abuse. In some of the United States, a blood test is required before marriage.
Rhabdomyolysis is a condition in which damaged skeletal muscle breaks down rapidly. Symptoms may include muscle pains, weakness, vomiting, and confusion. There may be tea-colored urine or an irregular heartbeat. Some of the muscle breakdown products, such as the protein myoglobin, are harmful to the kidneys and may lead to kidney failure. The muscle damage is most often the result of a crush injury, strenuous exercise, medications, or drug abuse. Other causes include infections, electrical injury, heat stroke, prolonged immobilization, lack of blood flow to a limb, or snake bites. Some people have inherited muscle conditions that increase the risk of rhabdomyolysis. The diagnosis is supported by a urine test strip which is positive for "blood" but the urine contains no red blood cells when examined with a microscope. Blood tests show a creatine kinase greater than 1,000 U/L, with severe disease being above 5,000 U/L. The mainstay of treatment is large quantities of intravenous fluids. Other treatments may include dialysis or hemofiltration in more severe cases. Once urine output is established sodium bicarbonate and mannitol are commonly used but they are poorly supported by the evidence. Outcomes are generally good if treated early. Complications may include high blood potassium, low blood calcium, disseminated intravascular coagulation, and compartment syndrome. Rhabdomyolysis occurs in about 26,000 people a year in the United States. While the condition has been commented on throughout history, the first modern description was following an earthquake in 1908. Important discoveries as to its mechanism were made during the Blitz of London in 1941. It is a significant problem for those injured in earthquakes and relief efforts for such disasters often include medical teams equipped to treat survivors with rhabdomyolysis.
Hyperkalemia, also spelled hyperkalaemia, is an elevated level of potassium (K+) in the blood serum. Normal potassium levels are between 3.5 and 5.0 mmol/L (3.5 and 5.0 mEq/L) with levels above 5.5 mmol/L defined as hyperkalemia. Typically this results in no symptoms. Occasionally when severe it results in palpitations, muscle pain, muscle weakness, or numbness. An abnormal heart rate can occur which can result in cardiac arrest and death. Common causes include kidney failure, hypoaldosteronism, and rhabdomyolysis. A number of medications can also cause high blood potassium including spironolactone, NSAIDs, and angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors. The severity is divided into mild (5.5–5.9 mmol/L), moderate (6.0–6.4 mmol/L), and severe (>6.5 mmol/L). High levels can also be detected on an electrocardiogram (ECG). Pseudohyperkalemia, due to breakdown of cells during or after taking the blood sample, should be ruled out. Initial treatment in those with ECG changes is calcium gluconate. Medications that might worsen the condition should be stopped and a low potassium diet should be recommended. Other medications used include dextrose with insulin, salbutamol, and sodium bicarbonate. Measures to remove potassium from the body include furosemide, polystyrene sulfonate, and hemodialysis. Hemodialysis is the most effective method. The use of polystyrene sulfonate, while common, is poorly supported by evidence. Hyperkalemia is rare among those who are otherwise healthy. Among those who are in hospital, rates are between 1% and 2.5%. It increases the overall risk of death by at least ten times. The word "hyperkalemia" is from hyper- meaning high; kalium meaning potassium; and -emia, meaning "in the blood".