If potassium is forced out of the cells causing the level to rise above 5.2 mmol/L then a condition known as hyperkalemia occurs. It should not be For most people, their potassium level should be between 3.5 and 5.0 millimoles per liter (mmol/L). The potassium level in the blood is strictly regulated by the body, and levels outside the normal range are potentially dangerous. and Another is sodium. Normal serum potassium levels range from 3.5 to 5.0 mEq/liter in the blood. diagnosis or treatment. Level of potassium between 6.0 to 7.0 mmol/L results in moderate hyperkalemia and severe hyperkalemia develops above 7.0 mmol/L. The delicate balance between potassium outside the cell, known as the extracellular fluid K+ and the potassium inside the cell, called the intracellular fluid K+ helps maintain the electrophysiology of the body. Low potassium can cause muscle cramps. Some foods with a lot of this mineral include: Potassium is one mineral that plays an important role in controlling the amount of fluid in the body. Kidney disease is a common cause of a high potassium level. Copyright © Hyperkalemia can result in dangerous arrhythmias and cardiac arrest. The normal potassium level is 3.5-5.0 mEq/L (mEq/L stand for milliequivalents per liter of blood and this is a unit measure used to evaluate the level). To maintain normal potassium levels in your body, eat a healthy diet full of fruits and vegetables. Depending on the lab, you should get the results back within a few days. Your cells need a certain level of potassium in your body to function. Low potassium levels lead to muscular weakness, fatigue, cardiac electrical problems and constipation due to ileus. Terms of Use A low blood potassium level is referred to as hypokalemia. . A normal range for potassium is between 3.6 and 5.2 millimoles per liter (mmol/L) of blood. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, a normal potassium level should be between 3.7 and 5.2 milliequivalents per liter. Unlimited visits. Low levels of potassium can lead to an irregular heartbeat or other electrical malfunction of the heart. A level lower than this is called hypokalemia. To do a test, a lab tech sticks a needle in a vein and takes a blood sample. Aldosterone regulates potassium excretion by the kidney to maintain normal levels in your blood between 3.7 to 5.2 milliequivalents per liter, according to MedlinePlus 1. Blood potassium level between 3.5 mEq/L to 5.0 mEq/L (milliequivalents per liter) is considered as normal. Fish like salmon and cod and chicken also contribute potassium to your diet. National Health Service (UK): “Potassium test.”, Mayo Clinic: “Low potassium (hypokalemia),” “High potassium (hyperkalemia),” “High blood pressure (hypertension).”, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: “Kidney Disease: High- and Moderate-Potassium Foods.”, Blood Pressure Association (UK): “Why potassium helps to lower blood pressure.”, University of Rochester Medical Center: “Basic Metabolic Panel (Blood).”, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute: “What To Expect With Blood Tests.”. Potassium is important for the normal function of all nerves and muscles, including the heart. The normal dietary intake, according to "Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine" ranges from 40 to 120 mmol per day. ■ If it is higher than this, it is known as a condition called hyperkalemia. They’ll probably want to talk with you about your medical history and any medicines you’re taking. Potassium is present in many types of foods including fruit, vegetables, meat and milk. If you have any of the conditions mentioned above, your doctor may want you to be tested. Use of this web site constitutes acceptance of the LIVESTRONG.COM Crucial to neuromuscular function, potassium levels are regulated by the acid-base balance within the blood, kidney filtration, dietary intake, gastrointestinal absorption and elimination through stool. Low potassium levels in your blood is also called hypokalemia. Potassium levels in the body are controlled in health by the kidneys. Potassium is an important electrolyte in the body that plays a role in many functions. ■ Potassium levels are measured in a unit known as milliEquivalents per Liter or (mEq/L). The material appearing on LIVESTRONG.COM is for educational use only. It can lead to serious heart problems. You often have a blood test with your yearly physical that checks for your potassium levels. What are the normal potassium levels for an infant. If your blood potassium levels are too low or high, you may experience certain symptoms. When potassium levels are low (hypokalemia), you can become weak as cellular processes are impaired. Normal levels of potassium range from 3.5 mmol/L to 5.1 mmol/L in adults. Your doctor may want you to get a blood test to check for potassium levels if they suspect you’re having health issues like: Other terms used to describe this test are: In addition to potassium levels, the test may check your blood for chloride, sodium, and urea nitrogen (BUN). Hyperkalemia . A reading above 6.5 mmol/L can cause heart problems that require immediate medical attention. U.S. National Library of Medicine: Abnormal Potassium Levels, University of Maryland Medical Center: Potassium, PARTNER & LICENSEE OF THE LIVESTRONG FOUNDATION. Normal daily intake of potassium is 70-100 mEq (270 to 390 mg/dl) and requires the kidneys to remove that same amount each day. Potassium is an essential ion found within the cells of the body. A potassium level higher … The levels of absorption and excretion can be affected by diarrhea, abuse of laxatives, chronic renal problems and malabsorption conditions. Patients with hyperkalemia may have a normal electrocardiogram or only subtle changes. Too little potassium in the blood is known as hypokalemia, and some common causes include chronic diarrhea and vomiting. any of the products or services that are advertised on the web site. Normal potassium levels in the blood are 3.7–5.2 mmol/L. The gastrointestinal tract absorbs 90 percent of that intake, excreting at least 5 to 10 mmol/d in a volume of 100 to 200 ml. That is approximately 1 mmol per kilogram of weight per day. Blood tests are very common and have very few risks. Get … Have A potassium level higher than 5.5 mmol/L is considered critically high, and a potassium level over 6 mmol/L will be life-threatening. Potassium balances the effects of sodium and helps keep fluid levels within a certain range. A very low potassium level (less than 2.5 mmol/L ) can be life-threatening and … However, any needle stick may cause bleeding, bruising, infection, or cause you to feel faint. Test: Age: Range: Units: Testosterone, Total (Male) <1 month 1-5 months 6-24 months 2-5 years 6-9 years 10-11 years 12-13 years 14-15 years 16-18 years Tanner stage 1 A typical potassium level for an adult falls between 3.5 and 5.0 millimoles per liter (mmol/L). More than 95 percent of the body's potassium is stored in the ICF. A sliced banana, a good source of dietary potassium. used as a substitute for professional medical advice, If your potassium level is high (a condition called hyperkalemia) you may have: If your potassium level is low (hypokalemia), you may have: Sometimes, a blood sample may be poorly taken or poorly tested, which can affect the test results. To make sure of the diagnosis, your doctor might ask you to take a second blood test. What does potassium do for your body? Writing professionally since 1998, Dr. Christine Princeton has been published with the American Osteopathic Association and the Society for Teachers of Family Medicine. Having a blood potassium level higher than 6.0 mmol/L can be … High potassium levels (hyperkalemia) may be seen in conditions such as: Your body should maintain a specific amount of potassium in the blood, ranging from 3.6 to 5.2 millimoles per liter (mmol/L). Hyperkalemia occurs when levels go above 5.5 mmol/L. Potassium is an essential ion found within the cells of the body. The normal range of potassium is between 3.6 and 5.2 millimoles per liter (mmol/L). Potassium is a chemical that is critical to the function of nerve and muscle cells, including those in your heart. Normally, your blood potassium level is 3.6 to 5.2 millimoles per liter (mmol/L). Can it be prevented? The major mode of potassium elimination from the body, the nephron of the kidney filters and excretes 10- to 20-fold the amount of potassium found in the ECF. If the potassium is forced inside the cell and the value drops below 3.0 mmol/L, then it is called hypokalemia. The LIVESTRONG Foundation and LIVESTRONG.COM do not endorse This can lead to high blood pressure (hypertension) and other issues. Pay attention to the directions your doctor gives you, including applying pressure to the area and keeping it clean. A high potassium level (hyperkalaemia) is a serious and potentially life-threatening condition. Lab Tests Online: “Potassium” (“The Test” tab). Talk to a doctor now. Copyright Policy Potassium blood levels chart. Hypokalaemia is defined as a serum potassium less than 3.5 mmol/L. The blood sample can check to see whether your potassium levels are in the normal range. The delicate balance between potassium outside the cell, known as the extracellular fluid K+ and the potassium inside the cell, called the intracellular fluid K+ helps maintain the electrophysiology of the body. Or, they might ask you to take a urine test. If your level of potassium is too low, you may experience symptoms such as … If potassium level in blood is between 5.0 to 6.0 mmol/L it is called mild hyperkalemia. Your doctor will go over the results with you. WebMD does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Normal potassium levels in the human body range between 3.5-5.0 mEq/L (136.5-195 μg/ml). Anything lower than 3.5 mEq/L is called hypokalemia, which can cause a lack of energy, muscle cramps, stomach disturbances, and irregular heartbeat. Either high or low potassium levels can cause heart problems. $10/month. Usually, blood potassium levels in adults should be between 3.6 and 5.2 millimoles per liter, or mmol/L. Smart Grocery Shopping When You Have Diabetes, Surprising Things You Didn't Know About Dogs and Cats, Coronavirus in Context: Interviews With Experts, Sign Up to Receive Our Free Coroanvirus Newsletter, Kidney disease (the most common cause of hyperkalemia). Patients who have already been diagnosed with kidney disease or other ailments may take potassium blood tests regularly. Persistently Low Potassium Levels. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, a normal potassium level is between 3.7 to 5.2 milliequivalents per liter (mEq/L) and a normal blood sodium level is between 135 to 145 mEq/L 1 4 5. Leaf Group Ltd. Get the free app for Members. Normal serum concentrations of potassium range from about 3.6 to 5.0 mmol/L and are regulated by a variety of mechanisms [ 3, 7 ]. Urgent referral to secondary care is recommended for patients with serum sodium < 120 mmol/L or > 150 mmol/L, rapidly decreasing or increasing levels, if neurological symptoms are present or if the patient is systemically unwell The normal reference range for serum sodium for adults is 135 – 145 mmol/L However, it can also be caused by certain medications, acute injuries, or a severe diabetic crisis (called "diabetic ketoacidosis") among other things. Potassium level below 3.5 mmol/L is known as hyperkalemia. (If there’s a lab at your doctor’s office, the results may be returned in less than an hour). Low potassium is defined as a potassium level below 3.5 mEq/L. Some medicines may affect the results, so they might advise you not to take them before the test. Potassium balances the effects of sodium and helps keep fluid levels within a certain range. , In the right amounts, the mineral potassium helps your nerves and muscles “talk” to each other, moves nutrients into and waste out of your cells, and helps your heart function. Sometimes it’s hard to find a good vein, so they will tighten an elastic band around your upper arm and ask you to open and close your hand into a fist. As a nutrient, potassium is found in a number of foods. Blood tests are performed to diagnose levels of potassium that are too high (hyperkalaemia) or too low (hypokalaemia).The most common cause of hyperkalaemia is kidney disease but many drugs can decrease the amount of potassium excreted from the body and result in this condition. Normal blood potassium levels can range from 3.5 to 5.2 millimoles per liter or mmol/L, according to "2007 Current Consult Medicine." Either situation can lead to life-threatening heart problems. Your doctor may ask you not to eat for at least 6 hours before the test, and to drink only water. This happens when your blood potassium levels are 7 mmol/L or higher. Having too much potassium in your body is called “hyperkalemia.” You may be at risk for hyperkalemia if you: 1. Having a potassium level that is too low (hypokalemia) and having a potassium level that is too high (hyperkalemia) are both very dangerous and can lead to weakness, muscle cramping, and death. What is a safe or normal potassium level? It is usually discovered through blood tests ordered to explain or monitor another condition. Potassium levels of 6.1 mEq/L to 7.0 mEq/L are moderate hyperkalemia, and levels above 7 mEq/L reflect severe hyperkalemia. Total body potassium stores are approximately 50 milliequivalents per kilogram of body weight or mEq/kg. Hyperkalemia is a potassium level of greater than 5.5. 2020 Chronic elevation of potassium levels (also known as hyperkalemia) is usually a sign of reduced kidney function. Potassium levels are very important in keeping your muscles, nerves, and heart working well. Normal blood potassium … So in this unit, the normal potassium level is prescribed to be 3.5 – 5.0 mEq/L. Too much sodium -- which the body mainly gets from salt -- leads to the body retaining fluid. Potassium keeps fluid stable in and around cells, allows nerves to transmit messages, keeps muscles working and makes your heart beat regularly. The normal range for potassium is 3.5 to 5.0 mmol/L. Good sources of potassium include bananas, potatoes, avocados, cantaloupes, tomatoes and lima beans. Dietary changes can help prevent and treat high potassium levels. Dr. Princeton received her degree at Touro University Nevada College of Osteopathic Medicine and works as a physician in the fields of hospital medicine and women's health. Risk of high potassium levels. Usually, levels under 2.5 mmol/L are considered to be very serious. Potassium is a mineral that helps: nerves and muscles "communicate" nutrients move into cells and waste products move out of cells ; the heart function healthily ; A potassium test may be recommended to help diagnose or monitor kidney disease, which is the most common cause of high potassium levels. The normal range of potassium in your blood is between 3.5 to 5.0 millimoles per liter. If you have unusually high levels of potassium, you can feel weak and tired, feel nauseous and have an abnormal heart rhythm. Small changes in potassium levels can have a big effect on the activity of nerves and muscles, especially the heart. (Reference ranges are not the exact same at every laboratory). Your blood potassium level is normally 3.6 to 5.2 millimoles per liter (mmol/L). It’s important to maintain healthy potassium levels. High levels cause decreased heart muscle activity. Potassium is especially important for your nerves and muscles, including your heart. According to the Mayo Clinic, a normal range of potassium is between 3.6 and 5.2 millimoles per liter (mmol/L) of blood. © 2005 - 2020 WebMD LLC. Urine excretion can be 1 to 110 percent of the potassium load, depending on aldosterone levels, acid-base status and dietary intake, according to "BRS: Physiology" authored by Linda Costanzo, Ph.D. The normal range of urine potassium is 25 to 120 mEq/L per every 24-hours. Although your body needs potassium, having too much in your blood can be harmful. Your daily potassium needs can depend on a variety of factors, including your health status, activity level and ethnicity. Why do Blood Potassium Levels Rise. 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