1

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Blood tests for Potassium and/or Sodium accurate?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created March 11, 2013 at 8:53 PM

I know, for example, that blood levels of magnesium are not a very good indicator of magnesium levels in cells.

Are blood tests for sodium / potassium equally as unhelpful unless you are in dire straights?

I'm trying to hack muscle cramping (feet, sometimes hands) and tension headaches (contracting of scalp muscles around the head). When my doctor said my blood tests were normal (including sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium), does that really rule out those electrolytes being the cause?

Thanks, Mike

7fc82eebafd44badc73c520f44660150

(3280)

on March 12, 2013
at 10:50 AM

I'm trying to hack muscle cramping (feet, sometimes hands) and tension headaches (contracting of scalp muscles around the head). When my doctor said my blood tests were normal (including sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium), does that really rule out those electrolytes being the cause?

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790

(15515)

on March 12, 2013
at 07:07 AM

I will let you know when I get re-tested for potassium levels.

7fc82eebafd44badc73c520f44660150

(3280)

on March 12, 2013
at 02:07 AM

Thanks Matt. Yes, I meant cells not blood :-)

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41777)

on March 11, 2013
at 09:07 PM

Pretty sure that Mg in the blood is Mg in the blood. Mg in the blood doesn't tell the whole story about Mg in the body. That's what I think you mean.

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3 Answers

best answer

1
701e1c8fc3d22f2e43e8ed723f56cb9c

on March 12, 2013
at 04:46 AM

Serum electrolytes are fleeting measurements that exist within a very small tolerance range. High potassium may be just a fluke. Get tested again to be sure. Serum measurements do not measure intracellularly rather they provide an overall snapshot of fluid/electrolyte balance. If you know the levels in the blood, you can almost always deduce which direction things are shifting.. but not quite x mEq/L in cell A or cell B... what exactly are you trying to figure out?

7fc82eebafd44badc73c520f44660150

(3280)

on March 12, 2013
at 10:50 AM

I'm trying to hack muscle cramping (feet, sometimes hands) and tension headaches (contracting of scalp muscles around the head). When my doctor said my blood tests were normal (including sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium), does that really rule out those electrolytes being the cause?

1
Medium avatar

on March 11, 2013
at 08:57 PM

I don't believe that potassium or sodium are stored, whereas magnesium can be drawn from bone.

0
701e1c8fc3d22f2e43e8ed723f56cb9c

on March 13, 2013
at 12:47 AM

electrolytes are also only as good as the fluid they are dissolved in, i.e.. h20. so many things to take into consideration and without seeing you in person alongside your labs, it's so hard to tell! keep working at it my friend

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