Potassium Test FAQ
What is a potassium test?
Why is a potassium blood test important?
What type of specimen will I submit?
Do I need to fast to take this test?
How long does it take to get test results?
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Potassium Blood Test - More Information
The potassium test, also known as a potassium lab test, potassium level test, and K blood test, measures the potassium level in the blood.
Potassium is an important element in the human body that is involved in a variety of functions. Potassium plays a role in nerve function, blood vessel health, gastrointestinal tone, and fluid balance. Both high and low potassium levels can be problematic in the body. Low potassium levels, also known as hypokalemia, can cause symptoms ranging from fatigue and cramping to life-threatening heart conditions. High potassium levels, or hyperkalemia, can cause palpitations, malaise and muscle fatigue. Potassium is often measured with the sodium test and is a component of both the basic metabolic panel and the comprehensive metabolic panel
The potassium blood test requires a simple blood draw that can be performed by any standard lab. To get a potassium test near you, order online and visit the Quest Diagnostics lab you selected. No fasting is required for this test and potassium lab results come back relatively quickly. The benefit of getting a potassium test performed at a lab is that a potassium blood draw needs to be performed carefully as inappropriately drawn samples can cause red blood cells to rupture, leading to something called hemolysis which can lead to artificially elevated potassium blood level results.
Potassium test results are reported in mmol / L. In reviewing the potassium sample report above, the potassium level reported in the result column is 3.8. This level falls in the reference range provided by the lab of 3.5-5.3 mmol / L. While this would typically be considered normal, the clinical situation is always important with potassium levels and results should be considered in that context and in consultation with your personal medical provider. This potassium test measures potassium levels at a point of time in contrast to the potassium RBC test which measures intracellular potassium levels.
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