A phosphate test measures the amount of
phosphate in a blood sample. Phosphate is a charged
particle (ion) that contains the
mineral phosphorus. The body needs phosphorus to build
and repair bones and teeth, help nerves function, and make muscles contract.
Most (about 85%) of the phosphorus contained in phosphate is found in bones.
The rest of it is stored in tissues throughout the body.
kidneys help control the amount of phosphate in the
blood. Extra phosphate is filtered by the kidneys and passes out of the body in
the urine. A high level of phosphate in the blood is usually caused by a kidney
The amount of phosphate in the blood affects the level of
calcium in the blood. Calcium and phosphate in the
body react in opposite ways: As blood calcium levels rise, phosphate levels
fall. A hormone called parathyroid hormone (PTH) regulates the levels of calcium and phosphorus in your blood. When the phosphorus level is measured, sometimes a PTH level is measured at the same time.
The relation between calcium and phosphate may be disrupted by some
diseases or infections. For this reason, phosphate and calcium levels are
usually measured at the same time.
Why It Is Done
A test to measure phosphate in blood may be done to:
- Check phosphate levels if you have kidney
disease or bone disease.
- Help find problems with certain glands,
such as the
How To Prepare
Many medicines can change the results of this test. Be sure to tell
your doctor about all the nonprescription and prescription medicines you
take, including vitamin D supplements.
Talk to your doctor about any concerns you have regarding the need
for the test, its risks, how it will be done, or what the results will
mean. To help you understand the importance of this test, fill out the
medical test information form(What is a PDF document?).
How It Is Done
The health professional taking a sample of your blood
- Wrap an elastic band around your upper arm to
stop the flow of blood. This makes the veins below the band larger so it is
easier to put a needle into the vein.
- Clean the needle site with
- Put the needle into the vein. More than one needle stick
may be needed.
- Attach a tube to the needle to fill it with
- Remove the band from your arm when enough blood is
- Put a gauze pad or cotton ball over the needle site as
the needle is removed.
- Put pressure on the site and then put on a
In a newborn baby, the blood sample is usually taken from the
heel (heel stick).
For a heel stick blood sample, several drops of blood are
collected from the heel of your baby. The skin of the heel is first cleaned
with alcohol and then punctured with a small sterile lancet. Several drops of
blood are collected in a small tube. When enough blood has been collected, a
gauze pad or cotton ball is placed over the puncture site. Pressure is
maintained on the puncture site briefly, and then a small bandage is usually