The recommended level of potassium in the blood ranges from 3.6 to 5.2 millimoles per liter, according to Healthline. A person should talk to a doctor for an explanation of the results of a potassium test, as different laboratories may use varying values.
The blood contains very tiny amounts of potassium, and small changes in a person’s potassium level can lead to severe issues, notes Healthline. Low potassium levels, or hypokalemia, may result from inadequate consumption of potassium from food sources, or from gastrointestinal disorders or the use of medications such as antibiotics, antifungals, corticosteroids and diuretics. Diabetes and acetaminophen overdose are also likely causes.
High potassium levels, or hyperkalemia, occurs when an individual has a potassium level of at least 7 millimoles per liter, states Healthline. It is a fatal condition that can be caused by excessive potassium in the diet, medications, blood transfusion or destruction of red blood cells. In some cases, a person can get false results because of factors such as clenching the first during blood collection, shaking the blood sample or delaying in sending the sample to the laboratory.
To maintain normal potassium levels, doctors recommend consuming appropriate amounts of potassium based on the person’s age, gender and health conditions, says Healthline. An individual age 19 and above is advised to include 4.7 grams of potassium in his everyday diet.