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Potassium (K) in Urine

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.

What Affects the Test

Reasons you may not be able to have the test or why the results may not be helpful include:

What To Think About

  • Potassium levels can also be checked in a blood test. For more information, see the topic Potassium (K) in Blood.
  • Doctors may look at urine potassium and blood potassium levels to see whether conditions or medicines may be causing fluid or electrolyte imbalances. Urine potassium levels are often high when blood levels are low or low when blood levels are high. Urine potassium levels are affected by medicines and hormones.

Citations

  1. Fischbach FT, Dunning MB III, eds. (2009). Manual of Laboratory and Diagnostic Tests, 8th ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.

Other Works Consulted

  • Chernecky CC, Berger BJ (2008). Laboratory Tests and Diagnostic Procedures, 5th ed. St. Louis: Saunders.

  • Fischbach FT, Dunning MB III, eds. (2009). Manual of Laboratory and Diagnostic Tests, 8th ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.

  • Pagana KD, Pagana TJ (2010). Mosby’s Manual of Diagnostic and Laboratory Tests, 4th ed. St. Louis: Mosby Elsevier.

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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