This lab test helps assess the potassium level in your body which is critical for many body processes and functions. Elevated levels of potassium are usually seen with kidney failure.

Potassium Overview

Reviewed: April 21, 2014

Potassium is a mineral that the body needs to work normally. Potassium helps nerves and muscles communicate. It also helps move nutrients into cells and waste products out of cells. Potassium level is checked to determine if potassium is within normal limits and to help evaluate an electrolyte imbalance.

Potassium is measured in milliequivalents per liter mEq/L.

The normal range for potassium is 3.5 - 5 mEq/L


Blood draw



Fasting is not required before the test.

What the results mean

Elevated potassium levels may result from acute renal failure, diabetes mellitus, too much postassium intake, acidosis as well as certain medications.

Lower than normal levels of potassium may result from diarrhea, vomiting, chronic fever, starvation, liver disease, and certain medications.