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Understanding the Test
Test Measures
Interpreting Results
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Dr. Anupriya Nautiyal
MD Pathology, MBBS
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Also known as Serum potassium test
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This test is for
Male, Female
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  1. No special preparation is required.

Understanding Potassium

What is Potassium?

A Potassium test measures the amount of potassium, an important electrolyte, in your body. This test is performed to evaluate your overall health. It can also be used as a follow-up test for ongoing health conditions like high blood pressure, kidney disease, heart problems, etc. This test is done as part of a routine health checkup.

Potassium is predominantly present inside the cells throughout the body, and the kidneys regulate its level. It performs several vital functions, such as regulating fluid levels, balancing the acid-base (pH) levels, or maintaining nerve and muscle functions. Potassium is also essential for the proper functioning of the heart. Therefore, any fluctuations in its levels can be alarming as this can cause potentially serious health concerns.

Your doctor may advise a Potassium test if you experience symptoms such as extreme fatigue, chest pain, irregular heartbeat, irregular pulse, difficulty in breathing, muscle weakness, and numbness. This test is also used as a follow-up test for those undergoing diuretic therapy or kidney dialysis. Usually, no special preparation is required for this test; eat and drink as per your daily routine.

Test result ranges are approximate and may differ slightly between labs depending on the methodology and laboratory guidelines. Talk to your doctor about your specific test results. Narrate your complete medical history to help the doctor correlate your clinical and laboratory findings. The test results will help them determine your medical condition, make recommendations for lifestyle modifications such as diet and exercise, decide whether or not medication will be required to manage your health and formulate your overall treatment plan. 

What is Potassium used for?

A Potassium test is done:

  • As part of routine health checkups.
  • To detect kidney-related health problems.
  • To monitor acid-base (pH) balance in the body.
  • To detect abnormalities if you experience symptoms such as muscular weakness, irregular heartbeats, or cardiac arrhythmia.
  • To monitor the progress of the condition and treatment response while undergoing treatment for high blood pressure, heart disease, kidney diseases, metabolic acidosis, and diabetes.
  • To monitor patients who are receiving diuretic therapy, intravenous fluids, or dialysis. 
  • To check the effects of medicines that can potentially affect your potassium levels, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), corticosteroids, antifungal medicines, beta-blockers, ACE enzyme inhibitors, angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs), and diuretics. 

What does Potassium measure?

A Potassium test measures the levels of potassium in your body. Potassium is one of the key electrolytes that helps in the functioning of the kidneys, heart, nerves, and muscles. It also balances the effect of sodium and helps keep your blood pressure normal. The body absorbs the required amount of potassium from the dietary sources and eliminates the remaining quantity through urine. Potassium level is typically maintained by the hormone aldosterone. Aldosterone acts on the nephrons present in the kidneys and activates the sodium-potassium pump that helps the body reabsorb sodium and excrete potassium. This aids in maintaining a regular and steady potassium level in the blood.

Interpreting Potassium results


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.

Answers to Patient Concerns & Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Potassium

Frequently Asked Questions about Potassium

Q. Why should I get a potassium blood test done?

You may get a potassium blood test done if you have kidney problems, high blood pressure, or heart problems. Watch for symptoms like extreme fatigue, chest pain, irregular heartbeat or pulse, difficulty in breathing, muscle weakness, and numbness which may be due to electrolyte imbalance.

Q. What is hyperkalemia and its associated symptoms?

Hyperkalemia refers to higher-than-normal blood potassium levels. Its signs and symptoms include breathing difficulty, chest pain, irregular heartbeat, weak or irregular pulse, nausea, and vomiting.

Q. What is hypokalemia and its associated symptoms?

Hypokalemia refers to lower-than-normal blood potassium levels. Its signs and symptoms include extreme tiredness, muscle weakness, numbness, heart palpitation, tingling, and constipation.

Q. What can be the causes of high potassium levels?

High potassium levels (hyperkalemia) may occur due to various conditions like diabetes, kidney problems, severe burns, excessive potassium intake, blood transfusion, metabolic acidosis, tissue injury, or infection. If your reports show high potassium levels, consult your doctor.

Q. What can be the causes of low potassium levels?

Low potassium levels (hypokalemia) may occur due to diarrhea, dehydration, or overuse of certain medicines. If your reports show low potassium levels, consult your doctor.

Q. What other tests can be prescribed by the doctor in case my reports show abnormal blood potassium levels?

Other tests that may be prescribed in case of abnormal blood potassium levels include a urine potassium test, electrolytes test, kidney function test, or electrocardiogram (ECG).

Q. How can I raise my potassium level naturally?

Some dietary modifications may help raise your potassium levels naturally. Include foods like bananas, sweet potato, tomato, watermelon, spinach, beans, low-fat milk, and yogurt in your daily diet to improve your potassium levels.
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Potassium test price for other cities

Price inKolkataRs. 180
Price inBangaloreRs. 150
Price inHyderabadRs. 149
Price inMumbaiRs. 180
Price inGurgaonRs. 180
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