What is Urine Potassium?
Potassium is both a mineral and an electrolyte. It plays an important role in a number of body activities like the functioning of the nerves and muscles. The Potassium Test is performed to measure the concentration of potassium in the urine.
Why is Urine Potassium done?
The Urine Potassium Test is performed:
· As a part of routine health check-ups to measure potassium levels in urine
· As part of check-up to diagnose kidney diseases
· To evaluate the cause of symptoms like muscular weakness, irregular heartbeats, cardiac arrhythmia, etc.
· To help diagnose conditions related to the adrenal gland like Conn’s Syndrome
· In case of abnormal results in blood potassium test
· At regular intervals to monitor the progress of disease or condition and treatment effectiveness while undergoing treatment for hypertension, kidney diseases, and metabolic acidosis
What does Urine Potassium Measure?
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. It also regulates the transport of nutrients and waste products in and out of cells. It is also essential for muscle activity.
The main source of potassium for the body is dietary sources. The amount of potassium required by the body is absorbed, and the remaining unabsorbed potassium is excreted by the kidneys. Body potassium is maintained within a small normal range principally by the hormone called 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.
Interpreting Urine Potassium results
· Below 40 years age:
Males: 11 to 80meq/L
Females: 17 to 145meq/L
· Above 40 years age:
Males: 17 to 99meq/L
Females: 22 to 164meq/L
Hypokalemia or low potassium is indicated if urine potassium concentration lies below the normal range.
Hyperkalemia or high potassium is indicated if urine potassium concentration lies above the normal range.