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What causes fluctuation in potassium levels?

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Posted on Tue, 13 Sep 2016
Question: Is it possible for potassium levels to fluctuate? I had blood works about a month ago and my potassium level was 5.3. One week ago I had another blood test at another pathology which showed my potassium levels at 5.9 (I had my fist clenched and I was very anxious at the time). I have been asked to repeat the test without clenching my fist.
My kidney function is good and no evidence of kidney disease.

Please help as this is making my anxiety go through the roof.

thank you
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Answered by Dr. Panagiotis Zografakis (11 minutes later)
Brief Answer:
they may fluctuate but not much

Detailed Answer:
Hello,

first of all 5.9 is too high. This is not normal. Make sure the specimen was not hemolyzed (the lab should have noted it, although this is not always the case). The causes of high potassium are not easy to approach without a detailed medical history, drug review and testing. You'd better check the hemolysis suspicion by talking to the lab or checking the report. Hemolysis makes potassium levels to rise. If there's no hemolysis I would suggest repeating the test to see if 5.9 is persisting. If it does then further investigation would be required.

At these levels there is no immediate danger, so don't worry too much about it.

Kind Regards!
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Answered by
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Dr. Panagiotis Zografakis

Internal Medicine Specialist

Practicing since :1999

Answered : 3801 Questions

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What causes fluctuation in potassium levels?

Brief Answer: they may fluctuate but not much Detailed Answer: Hello, first of all 5.9 is too high. This is not normal. Make sure the specimen was not hemolyzed (the lab should have noted it, although this is not always the case). The causes of high potassium are not easy to approach without a detailed medical history, drug review and testing. You'd better check the hemolysis suspicion by talking to the lab or checking the report. Hemolysis makes potassium levels to rise. If there's no hemolysis I would suggest repeating the test to see if 5.9 is persisting. If it does then further investigation would be required. At these levels there is no immediate danger, so don't worry too much about it. Kind Regards!