This test measures the level of potassium in the blood. Potassium is a mineral the body needs to function properly.
This test measures the level of potassium in the blood. Potassium is an electrolyte, which is a mineral that carries an electric charge. Minerals have many important functions in the body. This includes playing a key role in muscle, heart and digestive function. When potassium levels are abnormal, normal bodily functions can be affected.
Potassium is found in the foods we eat. It is absorbed into the blood from the intestines and then transported to the rest of the body via the bloodstream.
Hypokalemia occurs when the level of potassium in the blood is low. When the level of potassium is high, the condition is called hyperkalemia. More often, hypokalemia is caused by the body losing potassium due to:
Kidney disease is the most common cause of hyperkalemia. Other causes include:
Hypokalemia is often associated with no symptoms until the potassium level is extremely low. When symptoms occur, they can include:
Hyperkalemia also does not usually cause symptoms until potassium levels are very high. Symptoms can include:
Severe hypokalemia and hyperkalemia can both lead to death.
In an adult, the blood sample is usually taken by placing a needle in a vein in the arm or by pricking a finger. In a baby or child, the sample may be taken by pricking a finger or heel.
This care path's costs do not include the charge to draw blood from a vein (venipuncture). There will only be one charge to draw blood, even if multiple tests are being performed on the samples that are taken.
What should I ask my healthcare provider before having this test?
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