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Potassium test

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Potassium test



Introduction 

A potassium test measures the amount of potassium in blood serum (the fluid part of your blood).
 


Potassium test


 

Potassium is a mineral that has a number of uses including:



assisting in the communication between nerves and muscles



helping nutrients move into cells and waste products move out of cells



helping the heart to 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.

Your doctor may also recommend the test if you have heart-related problems, such as high blood pressure (hypertension).

If you have low potassium levels, you may have a heart problem, such as an irregular heartbeat. If you have high potassium levels, your heart muscle activity may be reduced. Both situations are serious and can be life-threatening.

You may also have a potassium test if you have diabetes and your doctor thinks you may have diabetic ketoacidosis (a complication caused by a lack of insulin in the body).

In rare cases, potassium levels may be low through poor diet. Good sources of dietary potassium include:



fruit, particularly bananas



vegetables



pulses



nuts and seeds



milk



fish



shellfish



beef



chicken



turkey



bread



 



Healthy hearts

 

Heart disease is the most common cause of death in the UK. Find out what to do to keep your heart fit for purpose