WHAT IS A POTASSIUM LAB TEST?
The Potassium Test is a blood test used to measure the level of potassium in the blood.
AM I REQUIRED TO FAST FOR THIS LAB TEST?
WHAT IS THE PRICE FOR A POTASSIUM LAB TEST?
*Price may vary by location – contact your local ANY LAB TEST NOW®
HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TO GET MY LAB TEST RESULTS?
Test results generally take between 24 to 72 business hours after your specimen is collected.
Potassium is a simple mineral that is important for the regulation of our heartbeat. It, along with other electrolytes like sodium and chloride, helps to maintain the proper fluid and electrolyte balance, stimulates muscle contraction, and helps to regulate the acid and base balance in the body. Each heart muscle needs the right balance of potassium to beat in a coordinated way with all the other heart muscles. If you have high blood pressure, heart arrhythmias or have had heart failure it is especially important to get enough potassium.
Potassium can easily be found in our food and eating a healthy diet of fruits and vegetables will almost always ensure enough potassium in the body. The USDA recommends that adults consume 4,700 mg of potassium per day. Potassium-rich foods include potatoes, tomatoes, avocadoes, bananas, oranges, strawberries, spinach, peas and beans, and nuts and seeds. Increasing your intake of fruits and vegetables will also lead to other benefits such as lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Although the link between hypertension and cholesterol isn’t direct, many diets that lower cholesterol and blood pressure are also high in potassium. Research has also shown that increasing potassium intake reduces the risk of stroke.
WHY DO I NEED TO HAVE MY POTASSIUM LEVEL CHECKED?
Have you experienced weakness and cardiac arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat)?
For those with high blood pressure or irregular heartbeat getting enough potassium and monitoring potassium levels is critical for maintain heart rhythms. Potassium levels are normally checked during an annual physical, especially if you are being monitored for heart disease or are taking heart medications. A potassium test may be needed during any serious illness or whenever a diagnosis or evaluation for high blood pressure or kidney disease is being done.
Potassium levels also provide valuable information for patients on dialysis or diuretic therapy needs to be monitored. Because potassium is lost quickly through the kidney during these therapies it is important to ensure that enough potassium is being taken in to replace it and to maintain healthy heart rhythms.
The normal range is 3.6-4.8 mEq/L.
HIGH RESULTS INDICATE:
High results may indicate kidney disease or dialysis dependence, acute renal failure, or the use of certain medications that increase potassium levels.
LOW RESULTS INDICATE:
Low results indicate extreme vomiting or diarrhea, inadequate intake of potassium or the use of diuretics.
WHAT TYPE OF DOCTOR SHOULD I SEE IF MY LAB TEST RESULTS ARE OUT-OF-RANGE?
If your results are abnormal or out of range, you should see your primary care physician.