Potassium is an important electrolyte for cell metabolism. Potassium in association with other electrolytes like chloride, sodium, and bicarbonate helps in maintaining acid-base balance by regulating the amount of fluid in the body. Potassium is also important for optimum nerve and muscle function. Minor changes in the levels of potassium in the body can pose some
very serious health concerns. A potassium test measures the levels of potassium in the body.
Why is the test done?
Abnormal levels of potassium can occur in several conditions and the test is used to monitor these levels. The test may be ordered with other electrolytes to detect electrolyte imbalance if the symptoms like high blood pressure or acidosis are suspected.
Potassium test may also be helpful to diagnose or monitor a kidney disease, monitor drugs that cause leakage of potassium from the kidneys or reduce potassium elimination from the body.
When is the test required?
Physicians recommend potassium test for individuals who have a kidney disease, muscular dystrophy or weakness, cardiac arrhythmias, high blood pressure or who are being treated for high BP. Doctors may prescribe this test frequently if they diagnose issues of high blood pressure, kidney disease, diabetic ketoacidosis and monitor an individual on dialysis.
How is the sample collected?
A blood sample is drawn from a vein in the arm.
How to prepare for the test?
No special preparation is required for this test.