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Potassium

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A potassium test is used to check the amount of potassium in your blood.

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    Testing blood for potassium levels is not usually ordered individually and always done along with other electrolytes. Your doctor may recommend a potassium test if there are indications for a kidney or a heart disorder or if you are presenting with high blood pressure. It can also be conducted at regular intervals to monitor the effect of certain drugs that impact these potassium levels.

Potassium test helps detect heart problems and high blood pressure; they also help in monitoring and diagnosing kidney disease. Your doctor would recommend this test for you if you show signs of a potassium deficiency. They include:

  1. Spasms and muscle cramps
  2. Problems with the digestive system
  3. Increased palpitation
  4. Muscle stiffness and frequent aches

Potassium is one of key micronutrients (chemical that is needed in trace quantities for maintaining normal well-being) in the body and is required for functioning of all kind of cells and tissues. Potassium plays a crucial role in maintaining fluid and electrolyte balance in the body.

Reference Values

Reference Value depends on age, gender and medical history. The normal range is 3.7 to 5.2 mEq/L.

Interpretations

If higher than normal potassium levels are noted in the blood, it can indicate a wide range of conditions such as excessive dietary intake of potassium, effect of certain medications that cause high potassium levels, red blood cell destruction or kidney disorder. Low level of Potassium could be indicative of chronic Diarrhoea, Kidney Diseases, and Intake of Diuretics etc. Cushing’s syndrome could also lead to a low level of potassium in Blood.

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