Page last updated June 2018

This is a FREE resource designed to support the medical profession in their care of women made possible by over 750 expert clinicians who are generously providing their contributions without any remuneration and by the publishers who have paid personally for the creation of this site in the memory of their daughter, Abigail.

Current Authors

Potassium

Potassium is the primary electrolyte within the cell. Damaged cells release potassium into the circulation.

Potassium plays a crucial role in:

  • Acid-base balance
  • Nerve conduction
  • Muscle contraction

Potassium levels may rise in the presence of:

  • Renal failure
  • Any cell damage (trauma, burn, chemotherapy)
  • Acidosis
  • Addison's disease
  • IV Potassium Penicillin administration

Potassium levels may fall in the presence of:

  • Diarrhea
  • Diuretics
  • Renal disease
  • Malnutrition
  • Severe burns
  • Ascites

Normal Values*

Men 3.5-5.0 mEq/L 3.5-5.0 mmol/L
Women 3.5-5.0 mEq/L 3.5-5.0 mmol/L
Pregnancy 3.3-4.1 mEq/L 3.3-4.1 mmol/L

Potassium levels less than 2.6 or greater than 6.4 are associated with potentially fatal cardiac arrythmias

*These are general values taken from a variety of sources. The actual normal values may vary from lab to lab and from one type of testing protocol to another.