What is the role of serum sodium measurement in the diagnosis of hypokalemia (low potassium level)?

Updated: Dec 06, 2018
  • Author: Eleanor Lederer, MD, FASN; Chief Editor: Vecihi Batuman, MD, FASN  more...
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Answer

A low serum sodium level suggests thiazide diuretic use or marked volume depletion from gastrointestinal losses. A high serum sodium might suggest that nephrogenic diabetes insipidus has occurred secondary to hypokalemia. This could indicate that the hypokalemia is a long-standing problem. A high serum sodium level also may suggest the presence of primary hyperaldosteronism, especially if hypertension also is present.


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