Overview of Potassium

What is Potassium?

Potassium (‎K+) is both a mineral and an electrolyte, which plays an important role in a number of body activities like metabolism and neuromuscular functioning. It helps in the transmission of nerve impulses to the muscles. The Potassium Test is performed to measure the concentration of potassium in the blood.

Sample Type

The sample type collected for Potassium is: Blood

Preparation for Potassium

  • No special preparation required

Why Get Tested for Potassium?

The Potassium Test is performed:

·         As a part of regular health checkup to measure potassium levels in the blood

·         As part of the checkup to diagnose kidney diseases

·         Upon the appearance of symptoms indicating neuromuscular conditions like muscular weakness, irregular heartbeats or cardiac arrhythmia, etc.

·         At regular intervals to monitor the progress of condition and treatment efficacy while undergoing treatment for hypertension, kidney diseases, and metabolic acidosis

·         To monitor patients who are receiving diuretic therapy, intravenous fluids, or dialysis


Understand more about Potassium

Potassium is one of the essential body electrolytes along with sodium, chloride, bicarbonate, etc. As an electrolyte, potassium helps to regulate the amount of fluids present in the body and to maintain a correct pH balance. It performs a vital role in cellular metabolism and transport of nutrients and waste products in and out of cells. It is also essential in transmission of nerve impulses to muscles and muscle activity.

Sufficient amount of potassium required by the body is absorbed from dietary sources, and the remaining unabsorbed potassium is excreted by the kidneys. Body potassium is maintained within a small normal range principally by the hormone aldosterone. Aldosterone acts on the nephrons in the kidneys and activates a sodium-potassium pump which helps the body to reabsorb sodium and excrete potassium. This helps to maintain the potassium concentration in the blood within its normal range. Deviation of potassium concentration from its normal range gives rise to Hyperkalemia (high potassium level in blood), or Hypokalemia (low potassium level in blood). Both these conditions may produce a number of symptoms, and may even be fatal if not controlled.

What Results of Potassium mean?


Normal range: 3.5 to 5.0mmol/L (136.5 to 195μg/ml approx.)

Hypokalemia: Below 3.5mmol/L (Less than 136.5μg/ml approx.)

Hyperkalemia: Above 5.0mmol/L (Above 195μg/ml approx.)

Potassium concentration in the body is maintained within a narrow normal range between 3.5mmol/L and 5.0mmol/L.

Hypokalemia or low blood potassium is indicated if potassium concentration lies below the normal range.

Hyperkalemia or high blood potassium is indicated if potassium concentration lies above the normal range.

Patient Concerns about Potassium

Frequently Asked Questions about Potassium

Q. How is this test performed?
This test is performed on a blood sample. A syringe with a fine needle attached is used to withdraw blood sample from a blood vessel in your arm generally from the inner side of the elbow area. The doctor, nurse or the phlebotomist will tie an elastic band around your arm which will help the blood vessels to swell with blood and hence makes it easier to withdraw blood. You may be asked to tightly clench your fist. Once the veins are clearly visible, the area is cleaned with an antiseptic solution and then the needle is inserted into the blood vessel to collect the sample. You may feel a tiny pinprick during the procedure. Blood sample once collected is then sent to the laboratory.
Q. Is there any risk associated with this test?
There is no risk associated with the test. However, as this test involves a needle prick to withdraw the blood sample, rarely, a patient may experience increased bleeding, hematoma (blood collection under the skin) formation, bruising or infection at the site of needle prick.
+ more

Provided By



The CLINICAL LABORATORY of Shahbazker’s Diagnostics Pvt. Ltd., Colaba is the 5th lab in Mumbai & 21st in India to be granted accreditation by NABL, and the 1st Lab in Mumbai and 2nd in India to be accredited under ISO 15189 (specific for medical Laboratories). NABL is a body under the Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India. Its criteria are based on ISO 15189:2007.

Available at Other Labs