Why this test?
- To detect an increase or decrease in the level of potassium - hyper- or hypokalemia - during a standard biochemical blood test.
- To control the level of potassium after prescribing drugs that can affect it, for example, diuretics, the frequent use of which can lead to hypokalemia.
- To assess the patient's condition with certain chronic diseases that lead to changes in the concentration of potassium in the blood, for example, with chronic renal failure.
In what cases is it prescribed?
- In case of suspicion of any serious disease associated with a violation of the potassium content.
- Together with tests for other electrolytes for a comprehensive assessment of electrolyte balance, especially when prescribing diuretics, heart drugs or blood pressure problems.
- With arterial hypertension, chronic kidney disease.
- During dialysis sessions, diuretic therapy, or intravenous therapy.
- With symptoms of hyperkalemia: excitability, diarrhea, convulsions, oliguria, cardiac arrhythmia with sharp T waves and progressive ventricular fibrillation.
- With symptoms of hypokalemia: malaise, polyuria, anorexia, weak pulse, low blood pressure, vomiting, reduced reflexes, changes in the ECG with reduced T waves.
Potassium is a cation that interacts with other electrolytes: sodium, chlorine, bicarbonate; together, they regulate water exchange in the body, muscle contraction, ensure the conduction of nerve impulses and maintain acid-base balance. Potassium is excreted by the kidneys under the control of aldosterone, which is secreted by the glands in response to the production of angiotensin II and hyperkalemia.
The electrolyte is contained mainly in the cells, only a small part of it is in the extracellular fluid and in the liquid part of the blood (plasma), this share is 2% of its total content in the body. The concentration of potassium in plasma is very small, so any, even small, changes will have pronounced consequences. With a significant increase or decrease in its level, a person's health is in danger: from the development of shock to the formation of respiratory failure or heart rhythm disorders. Deviations of this indicator from the norm can disrupt the transmission of impulses in muscle tissue and between neurons, for example, the heart muscle can lose its ability to contract.