Adults: 3.5-5.1 mEq/L
Children: 3.5-5.1 mEq/L
In the International System of Units (SI), potassium in the blood is measured in mmol/L. The valence of potassium is +1 so the numeric values are the same in mmol/L or in mEq/L.
Each laboratory must establish its own normal ranges for potassium in the blood. These ranges depend on the makeup of the local population, the technologies used and the accuracy of the measurement. There may be also slight differences in the normal levels according to age, gender, race or ethnic origin, geographic region, diet, type of sample and other relevant status.
Your doctor will study the results along with your medical record, screenings, physical condition, symptoms and any other relevant information about your situation.
Potassium is an electrolyte found mainly in the fluid inside of cells. Only a small percentage of the body's total potassium is available in the blood stream (2%).
Potassium is very important to maintain the electrical activity of the cells. That is essential for:
Potassium enters the body through diet and it is excreted primarily through urine (80%). The remaining is excreted through stool (15%) or sweat (5%).
Potassium excretion depends on the effect of aldosterone, a steroid hormone produced by the adrenal gland. If potassium level is high, the production of aldosterone in stimulated to increase the urinary potassium excretion.
A potassium blood test is ordered for a variety of reasons:
Causes of abnormally high levels of potassium (hyperkalemia) in the lood are:
Abnormally low levels (hypokalemia) can be due to:
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The following values are considered to be normal values:
IMPORTANT: These levels are expressed in mEq/L (mmol/L). They are an example for a healthy man of about 45 years of age with no known disease, not taking any medication and with an appropriate intake of potassium in diet. The ranges can be different depending on the laboratory or on your personal circumstances.
|3.5 mEq/L||3.6 mEq/L||3.7 mEq/L||3.8 mEq/L||3.9 mEq/L||4 mEq/L||4.1 mEq/L||4.2 mEq/L|
|4.3 mEq/L||4.4 mEq/L||4.5 mEq/L||4.6 mEq/L||4.7 mEq/L||4.8 mEq/L||4.9 mEq/L||5 mEq/L|