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Potassium (K) in Urine

How It Is Done

Urine potassium can be checked in a single urine sample but it is more often measured in a 24-hour urine sample.

Urine collection over 24 hours

  • You start collecting your urine in the morning. When you first get up, empty your bladder but do not save this urine. Write down the time that you urinated to mark the beginning of your 24-hour collection period.
  • For the next 24 hours, collect all your urine. Your doctor or lab will usually provide you with a large container that holds about 1 gal (4 L). The container has a small amount of preservative in it. Urinate into a small, clean container and then pour the urine into the large container. Do not touch the inside of either container with your fingers.
  • Keep the large container in the refrigerator for the 24 hours.
  • Empty your bladder for the final time at or just before the end of the 24-hour period. Add this urine to the large container and record the time.
  • Do not get toilet paper, pubic hair, stool (feces), menstrual blood, or other foreign matter in the urine sample.

How It Feels

There is no discomfort in collecting a one-time or 24-hour urine sample.

Risks

There is no chance for problems in collecting a one-time or 24-hour urine sample.

Results

A test for potassium in the urine is a 24-hour test or a one-time (spot) test that checks how much potassium is in the urine. Potassium is both an electrolyte and a mineral.

Normal

The normal values listed here—called a reference range—are just a guide. These ranges vary from lab to lab, and your lab may have a different range for what's normal. Your lab report should contain the range your lab uses. Also, your doctor will evaluate your results based on your health and other factors. This means that a value that falls outside the normal values listed here may still be normal for you or your lab.

Results are ready in 1 day.

Potassium in urine in a 24-hour sample1
Normal (adults):

25–125 milliequivalents per liter (mEq/L) per day or 25–125 millimoles per liter (mmol/L) per day

Normal (children):

10–60 mEq/L per day or 10–60 mmol/L per day

Many conditions can affect potassium levels. Your doctor will talk with you about any abnormal results that may be related to your symptoms and past health.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: September 04, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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