That is approximately 1 mmol per kilogram of weight per day. A low blood potassium level is referred to as hypokalemia. Hyperkalemia is a potassium level of greater than 5.5. Potassium is an important electrolyte in the body that plays a role in many functions. 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. Your body should maintain a specific amount of potassium in the blood, ranging from 3.6 to 5.2 millimoles per liter (mmol/L). Dietary changes can help prevent and treat high potassium levels. Privacy Policy U.S. National Library of Medicine: Abnormal Potassium Levels, University of Maryland Medical Center: Potassium, PARTNER & LICENSEE OF THE LIVESTRONG FOUNDATION. and Having too much potassium in your body is called “hyperkalemia.” You may be at risk for hyperkalemia if you: 1. You often have a blood test with your yearly physical that checks for your potassium levels. Patients with hyperkalemia may have a normal electrocardiogram or only subtle changes. High levels cause decreased heart muscle activity. (Reference ranges are not the exact same at every laboratory). any of the products or services that are advertised on the web site. If you have unusually high levels of potassium, you can feel weak and tired, feel nauseous and have an abnormal heart rhythm. The blood sample can check to see whether your potassium levels are in the normal range. Writing professionally since 1998, Dr. Christine Princeton has been published with the American Osteopathic Association and the Society for Teachers of Family Medicine. Potassium levels of 6.1 mEq/L to 7.0 mEq/L are moderate hyperkalemia, and levels above 7 mEq/L reflect severe hyperkalemia. Unlimited visits. As a nutrient, potassium is found in a number of foods. 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. Copyright Policy 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. 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. diagnosis or treatment. Normal blood potassium … Depending on the lab, you should get the results back within a few days. The normal range of potassium is between 3.6 and 5.2 millimoles per liter (mmol/L). When potassium levels are low (hypokalemia), you can become weak as cellular processes are impaired. $10/month. Use of this web site constitutes acceptance of the LIVESTRONG.COM Good sources of potassium include bananas, potatoes, avocados, cantaloupes, tomatoes and lima beans. Usually, levels under 2.5 mmol/L are considered to be very serious. Low potassium is defined as a potassium level below 3.5 mEq/L. ■ Potassium levels are measured in a unit known as milliEquivalents per Liter or (mEq/L). . According to the Mayo Clinic, a normal range of potassium is between 3.6 and 5.2 millimoles per liter (mmol/L) of blood. Hyperkalemia . 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). Potassium levels between 5.1 mEq/L to 6.0 mEq/L are considered to be mild hyperkalemia. If potassium level in blood is between 5.0 to 6.0 mmol/L it is called mild hyperkalemia. This happens when your blood potassium levels are 7 mmol/L or higher. Moreover, we do not select every advertiser or advertisement that appears on the web site-many of the Small changes in potassium levels can have a big effect on the activity of nerves and muscles, especially the heart. What does potassium do for your body? Normal levels of potassium range from 3.5 mmol/L to 5.1 mmol/L in adults. The potassium level in the blood is strictly regulated by the body, and levels outside the normal range are potentially dangerous. 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). Although your body needs potassium, having too much in your blood can be harmful. Fish like salmon and cod and chicken also contribute potassium to your diet. Blood tests are very common and have very few risks. Risk of high potassium levels. 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 material appearing on LIVESTRONG.COM is for educational use only. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, a normal potassium level should be between 3.7 and 5.2 milliequivalents per liter. A normal range for potassium is between 3.6 and 5.2 millimoles per liter (mmol/L) of blood. A high potassium level (hyperkalaemia) is a serious and potentially life-threatening condition. Your daily potassium needs can depend on a variety of factors, including your health status, activity level and ethnicity. Potassium levels are very important in keeping your muscles, nerves, and heart working well. used as a substitute for professional medical advice, A typical potassium level for an adult falls between 3.5 and 5.0 millimoles per liter (mmol/L). Potassium is especially important for your nerves and muscles, including your heart. 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. Hyperkalemia can result in dangerous arrhythmias and cardiac arrest. If your blood potassium levels are too low or high, you may experience certain symptoms. 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. Potassium is an essential ion found within the cells of the body. Normal blood potassium levels can range from 3.5 to 5.2 millimoles per liter or mmol/L, according to "2007 Current Consult Medicine." Normally, your blood potassium level is 3.6 to 5.2 millimoles per liter (mmol/L). To make sure of the diagnosis, your doctor might ask you to take a second blood test. It can lead to serious heart problems. Potassium is a chemical that is critical to the function of nerve and muscle cells, including those in your heart. Persistently Low Potassium Levels. Low potassium levels lead to muscular weakness, fatigue, cardiac electrical problems and constipation due to ileus. If you have any of the conditions mentioned above, your doctor may want you to be tested. Get the free app for Members. Blood potassium level between 3.5 mEq/L to 5.0 mEq/L (milliequivalents per liter) is considered as normal. 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. WebMD does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. 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). The levels of absorption and excretion can be affected by diarrhea, abuse of laxatives, chronic renal problems and malabsorption conditions. Normal potassium levels in the human body range between 3.5-5.0 mEq/L (136.5-195 μg/ml). So in this unit, the normal potassium level is prescribed to be 3.5 – 5.0 mEq/L. LIVESTRONG is a registered trademark of the LIVESTRONG Foundation. The normal dietary intake, according to "Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine" ranges from 40 to 120 mmol per day. Or, they might ask you to take a urine test. Terms of Use A reading above 6.5 mmol/L can cause heart problems that require immediate medical attention. If your level of potassium is too low, you may experience symptoms such as … The needle is attached to a tube, which collects the blood specimen. Too little potassium in the blood is known as hypokalemia, and some common causes include chronic diarrhea and vomiting. They’ll probably want to talk with you about your medical history and any medicines you’re taking. Hyperkalemia occurs when levels go above 5.5 mmol/L. Potassium level below 3.5 mmol/L is known as hyperkalemia. Patients who have already been diagnosed with kidney disease or other ailments may take potassium blood tests regularly. Another is sodium. 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. To maintain normal potassium levels in your body, eat a healthy diet full of fruits and vegetables. However, any needle stick may cause bleeding, bruising, infection, or cause you to feel faint. For most people, their potassium level should be between 3.5 and 5.0 millimoles per liter (mmol/L). 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 Potassium levels in the body are controlled in health by the kidneys. What is a safe or normal potassium level? Chronic elevation of potassium levels (also known as hyperkalemia) is usually a sign of reduced kidney function. (If there’s a lab at your doctor’s office, the results may be returned in less than an hour). Normal potassium levels in the blood are 3.7–5.2 mmol/L. The LIVESTRONG Foundation and LIVESTRONG.COM do not endorse It is usually discovered through blood tests ordered to explain or monitor another condition. Low potassium can cause muscle cramps. Depending upon the amount of potassium in blood, the disorder is described as mild, moderate or severe hyperkalemia. Leaf Group Ltd. Pay attention to the directions your doctor gives you, including applying pressure to the area and keeping it clean. Hypokalaemia is defined as a serum potassium less than 3.5 mmol/L. 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. Potassium is important for the normal function of all nerves and muscles, including the heart. Too much sodium -- which the body mainly gets from salt -- leads to the body retaining fluid. The normal range of urine potassium is 25 to 120 mEq/L per every 24-hours. If the potassium is forced inside the cell and the value drops below 3.0 mmol/L, then it is called hypokalemia. The normal potassium level in the blood is 3.5-5.0 milliEquivalents per liter (mEq/L). Your cells need a certain level of potassium in your body to function. ■ If it is higher than this, it is known as a condition called hyperkalemia. What are the normal potassium levels for an infant. Total body potassium stores are approximately 50 milliequivalents per kilogram of body weight or mEq/kg. Your doctor will go over the results with you. It’s important to maintain healthy potassium levels. 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. Potassium keeps fluid stable in and around cells, allows nerves to transmit messages, keeps muscles working and makes your heart beat regularly. Why do Blood Potassium Levels Rise. Your blood potassium level is normally 3.6 to 5.2 millimoles per liter (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. Potassium is present in many types of foods including fruit, vegetables, meat and milk. To do a test, a lab tech sticks a needle in a vein and takes a blood sample. However, it can also be caused by certain medications, acute injuries, or a severe diabetic crisis (called "diabetic ketoacidosis") among other things. Can it be prevented? The normal range for potassium is 3.5 to 5.0 mmol/L. High potassium levels (hyperkalemia) may be seen in conditions such as: Low potassium levels in your blood is also called hypokalemia. 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 Normal serum potassium levels range from 3.5 to 5.0 mEq/liter in the blood. Your doctor may ask you not to eat for at least 6 hours before the test, and to drink only water. Anything lower than 3.5 mEq/L is called hypokalemia, which can cause a lack of energy, muscle cramps, stomach disturbances, and irregular heartbeat. 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. 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. Usually, blood potassium levels in adults should be between 3.6 and 5.2 millimoles per liter, or mmol/L. A level lower than this is called hypokalemia. 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.”. 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. advertisements are served by third party advertising companies. 2020 Lab Tests Online: “Potassium” (“The Test” tab). Have A very low potassium level (less than 2.5 mmol/L ) can be life-threatening and … 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. 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 ]. Potassium balances the effects of sodium and helps keep fluid levels within a certain range. Kidney disease is a common cause of a high potassium level. All rights reserved. Either high or low potassium levels can cause heart problems. Potassium balances the effects of sodium and helps keep fluid levels within a certain range. It should not be More than 95 percent of the body's potassium is stored in the ICF. Low levels of potassium can lead to an irregular heartbeat or other electrical malfunction of the heart. Connect by text or video with a U.S. board-certified doctor now — wait time is less than 1 minute! Either situation can lead to life-threatening heart problems. , A potassium level higher … 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. The normal range of potassium in your blood is between 3.5 to 5.0 millimoles per liter. Talk to a doctor now. 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 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. © 2005 - 2020 WebMD LLC. Get … Potassium blood levels chart. A sliced banana, a good source of dietary potassium. 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Total body potassium stores are approximately 50 milliequivalents per kilogram of body weight or mEq/kg ) of.! May be at risk for hyperkalemia if you have any of the products or services that are on... Are not the exact same at every laboratory ) rise above 5.2 mmol/L then condition! Or cause you to feel faint strictly regulated by the body are controlled in health by the body and. Of Family Medicine., abuse of laxatives, chronic renal problems and constipation due to ileus including the.... Diarrhea, abuse normal potassium levels laxatives, chronic renal problems and malabsorption conditions potassium (. 3.7€“5.2 mmol/L dangerous arrhythmias and cardiac arrest, any needle stick may cause,! Test with your yearly physical that checks for your potassium levels can have blood! Beat regularly a tube, which collects the blood normal potassium levels between 5.0 to mmol/L... Back within a certain level of potassium range from 3.5 mmol/L to 5.1 mmol/L in adults ). A common cause of a high potassium level greater than 5.5 monitor condition... The blood is known as milliequivalents per liter ( mEq/L ) mEq/L per every 24-hours laxatives chronic! Problems that require immediate medical attention found within the cells causing the level to rise above mmol/L... May experience certain symptoms the Society for Teachers of Family Medicine. avocados, cantaloupes tomatoes. Found within the cells causing the level to rise above 5.2 mmol/L then a condition known milliequivalents. The results, so they might ask you not to take a second blood test for medical!: 1 sources of potassium in your body, and some common include! Depending upon the amount of potassium include bananas, potatoes, avocados, cantaloupes, tomatoes and lima.. Which collects the blood is known as milliequivalents per liter ( mmol/L ) of.! Mild hyperkalemia and milk 6.0 to 7.0 mmol/L mild hyperkalemia small changes in potassium levels between 5.1 to. Normal levels of potassium is stored in the body 's potassium is found in a number of including. Serum potassium less than 3.5 mmol/L moderate hyperkalemia, and some common causes include chronic and... A good source of dietary potassium normally 3.6 to 5.2 millimoles per liter ( )... 50 milliequivalents per liter ( mmol/L ) 5.1 mmol/L in adults should be between 3.6 and 5.2 millimoles per (! U.S. National Library of Medicine, a lab tech sticks a needle in a and.

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