Last Updated on July 28, 2022 by Dr. Neeraj Gujar
The amount of phosphate found in your blood is measured by a phosphorus blood test. Phosphate, an electrically charged particle, contains minerals and phosphorus. To build strong bones, teeth, and teeth, phosphorus works with the mineral Calcium.
The kidneys are responsible for filtering and removing excess phosphate from blood. If your blood phosphate levels are excessively high or low, this could indicate kidney disease.
Phosphorus, an essential element in many of the body’s physiological functions, is vital. It is essential for bone growth, energy storage, and nerve and muscle development, as well as energy storage. Phosphorus is found in many foods, including meats and dairy products. It’s easy to get enough.
Most of the phosphorus in your body is found in your bones and teeth. Some phosphorus may still be present in your blood. A serum phosphorus test can be used by your doctor to determine how high your blood phosphorus levels are.
Hyperphosphatemia occurs when phosphorus in your blood levels are too high. Hypophosphatemia refers to the opposite i.e., too little phosphorus. Your blood phosphorus levels can drop due to various conditions such as chronic alcohol abuse or vitamin D deficiency.
Although a serum phosphorus test will tell you if your levels are high or low, it cannot diagnose your exact cause. To determine the cause of abnormal serum phosphorus tests, your doctor will need to run additional tests.
Why Test Is Done?
A phosphorus blood test could be used to:
- Monitor and diagnose kidney disease and bones disorders
- Diagnose parathyroid disorders. The parathyroid glands, which are located in the neck are the small glands. They produce hormones that regulate the blood calcium levels. These hormones can lead to serious health problems if the gland produces too many or too few of them.
Sometimes, a blood test for phosphate is ordered in conjunction with a test for calcium and other minerals.
Also Read: How Do Doctors Use Renal Function Test to Diagnose Kidney Diseases
When To Get Tested?
The Phosphorus test may be required if you have symptoms such as kidney disease or parathyroid disorders. These include:
- Muscle cramps
- Bone pain
Many people with these conditions don’t experience symptoms. Your provider may order a test for phosphate if you have kidney disease. This is based on your medical history and results from calcium tests. Because calcium and phosphate are interrelated, problems with calcium can also lead to problems with phosphate. A routine checkup often includes calcium testing.
If your doctor suspects that your serum phosphorus level may be too low or high, they might order a test. Either extreme could lead to serious health problems.
These are signs that your phosphorus levels may be too low:
- Changes in your mental state (e.g., anxiety or irritability)
- Fragility and Poor Development in Children are all examples of bone problems.
- Irregular breathing
- Loss of appetite
- Muscle weakness
- Weight loss or weight gain
You may have a combination of calcium and phosphorus in your blood. These deposits can also appear in the muscles. These deposits are rare and can only be found in those with high levels of calcium absorption or renal problems. It is more common to have excess phosphorus which leads to heart disease and osteoporosis.
If you have received abnormal results from the blood-calcium test, your doctor may order a serum test for phosphorus. Your body must maintain a delicate balance of calcium and phosphorus. A calcium test that shows an abnormal result may also indicate an unusual level of phosphorus.
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How To Get Tested?
Phosphate levels can be affected by certain medicines and supplements such as medications that contain sodium phosphate. Make sure you tell your doctor about all medications that you are taking. You may be asked to temporarily stop taking any medications that might interfere with your test results.
Many medications can alter your phosphorus levels.
- Vitamin D supplements
- Intravenous glucose
This test doesn’t usually require you to fast. If your doctor asks you to fast, they will inform you.
During the Test
A small needle is used by a health professional to take blood from a vein on your arm. Once the needle has been inserted, some blood will be taken and stored in a vial or test tube. The needle may cause a slight stinging sensation when it is inserted or removed. It usually takes less than five minutes.
After The Test
A blood test is not a risky procedure. Although you may feel a little bit of pain or bruise around the site where the needle was inserted, most symptoms disappear quickly.
There is a small chance of bleeding or infection at puncture sites. After having your blood drawn, you may feel lightheaded.
Rarely, blood may become swollen after drawing it. This condition is phlebitis. The swelling can be reduced by applying a warm compress to affected areas several times per day.
The concentration of serum phosphorus in the blood is measured in milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL). Mayo Medical Laboratories states that the normal range for adults is 2.5 to 4.5 mg/dL.
Your age may affect the normal range. Children naturally have higher levels of phosphorus because they require more of this mineral for their bone development.
Also Read: 4 Blood Tests to Assess Your Heart Health
In test results, the terms phosphate or phosphorus may mean the same thing. Your results might show phosphorus levels, rather than phosphate.
High levels of phosphorus
If you have impaired renal function, excess phosphorus can build up in your bloodstream. You can lower your phosphorus levels by avoiding high-phosphorus foods like milk, beans, liver, and nuts. You may have to take medication to stop your body from absorption of phosphorus.
High levels of phosphorus may not only be caused by a reduced kidney function but also can be due to:
- Certain medications, like laxatives, contain phosphates
- Diabetic ketoacidosis is a potentially life-threatening side effect of diabetes
- Problems with diet, such as too much phosphate and vitamin D
- Hypocalcemia or low serum calcium levels
- Hypoparathyroidism is a condition where your parathyroid gland does not produce enough parathyroid hormone.
- Liver disease
Low levels of phosphorus
Low levels of phosphorus can be caused by a variety of medical conditions and nutritional problems, such as:
- Chronic use of anti-biotics
- A lack of vitamin D
- Insufficient phosphorus in your diet
- Hypercalcemia or high serum calcium levels
- Hyperparathyroidism is a condition where your parathyroid gland makes too much parathyroid hormone.
- Osteocalcin is a condition where bones become soft and deformed. It is caused by a vitamin-D deficiency. This condition is known as Rickets.
Your phosphate/phosphorus levels may not be normal. This does not necessarily mean that you need to seek medical treatment. Your diet and other factors can also affect your results. Children often have higher levels of phosphate because their bones are still developing. Talk to your doctor if you have any questions about your results.
Here are some methods to help you control high levels of phosphorus in your body –
- Control the level in your diet
- Include phosphorus binders
- Start with vitamin D supplements
- Get on dialysis
- Include exercises in your daily routine
A damaged kidney is unlikely to repair itself. But the health condition can be treated if diagnosed early. The treatment may include regular monitoring, diet modifications, medications, and regular exercises. To diagnose kidney problems at an early stage, you need to get regular health checkups for the same.
A low level of phosphate in the blood serum points toward a disorder known as hypophosphatemia. The deficiency of phosphorus may cause bone diseases such as Osteomalacia in adults and rickets in children.
- Blood test: Phosphorus. (2014).
- Phosphorus. (2013).
Test ID: PHOS. Phosphorus (inorganic), serum. (n.d.).