The major positive ion (cation) found inside of cells. The chemical notation for potassium is K+. The proper level of potassium is essential for normal cell function. An abnormal increase of potassium (hyperkalemia) or decrease of potassium (hypokalemia) can profoundly affect the nervous system and heart, and when extreme, can be fatal. The normal blood potassium level is 3.5 - 5.0 milliEquivalents/liter (mEq/L), or in international units, 3.5 - 5.0 millimoles/liter (mmol/L).
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An alkaline metallic element, atomic no. 19, atomic wt. 39.0983, occurring abundantly in nature but always in combination; its salts are used medicinally. For organic p. salts not listed below, see the name of the anion. SYN: kalium. [Mod. L., fr. Eng. potash (fr. pot + ashes) + -ium]
- p. acetate a diuretic, diaphoretic, and systemic and urinary alkalizer. SYN: sal diureticum.
- p. alum SYN: aluminum p. sulfate.
- p. aminosalicylate p-aminosalicylic acid.
- p. antimonyltartrate SYN: antimony p. tartrate.
- p. atractylate the p. salt of atractylic acid, the natural source of the latter.
- p. bicarbonate used as a diuretic to decrease the acidity of the urine and as an electrolyte replenisher.
- p. bitartrate a diuretic and laxative. SYN: cream of tartar, p. acid tartrate.
- p. bromide KBr; an obsolescent sedative and hypnotic (sodium bromide is usually preferred).
- p. chlorate chlorate of potash, KClO3, used as a mouthwash and gargle in stomatitis and follicular pharyngitis; it is incompatible in the dry state with all easily oxidizable substances.
- p. chloride used to correct p. deficiency.
- p. citrate a deliquescent powder, soluble in water; used as a diuretic, diaphoretic, expectorant, and systemic and urinary alkalizer. SYN: Rivière salt.
- p. cyanide a commercial fumigant.
- p. dichromate, p. bichromate used externally as an astringent, antiseptic, and caustic; a strong oxidizing agent to be handled with care.
- p. ferrocyanide yellow prussiate of potash, used in the preparation of various cyanides and in medicine as an antidote to copper sulfate.
- p. gluconate gluconic acid p. salt, used in hypokalemia as a replenisher.
- p. guaiacolsulfonate used as an expectorant.
- p. hydroxide KOH; a strong, penetrating caustic. SYN: caustic potash.
- p. hypophosphite formerly believed to have a tonic effect upon the nervous system; may be explosive if triturated or heated with oxidizing agents.
- p. iodate an oxidizing agent and disinfectant.
- p. iodide KI; used as an alterative and expectorant, and in certain mycoses.
- p. metaphosphate a pharmaceutic aid (buffer).
- monobasic p. phosphate used as a urinary acidifier and buffer.
- p. nitrate sometimes used as a diuretic and diaphoretic; formerly it was included in asthmatic powders containing stramonium leaves. SYN: niter, saltpeter.
- penicillin G p. penicillin G p..
- p. perchlorate occasionally used, as an alternative to a thiouracil derivative, in the control of hyperthyroidism.
- p. permanganate a strong oxidizing agent, used in solution as an antiseptic and deodorizing application for foul lesions, and formerly as a gastric lavage in poisoning from morphine, strychnine, aconite, and picrotoxin; in electron microscopy, it stains cytomembranes well and gives results similar to lead hydroxide staining; also used as a fixative (Luft).
- p. rhodanate SYN: p. thiocyanate.
- p. sodium tartrate a mild saline cathartic, used as an ingredient in compound effervescent powders. SYN: Rochelle salt, Seignette salt, sodium p. tartrate.
- p. sorbate 2,4-hexadienoic acid p. salt; a mold and yeast inhibitor, used as a preservative.
- p. sulfate an obsolete laxative.
- p. tartrate a mild purgative and diuretic. SYN: soluble tartar.
- p. thiocyanate formerly used in the treatment of essential hypertension and as a reagent in the detection of copper, iron, and silver. SYN: p. rhodanate, p. sulfocyanate.

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po·tas·si·um pə-'tas-ē-əm n a silver-white soft light low-melting monovalent metallic element of the alkali metal group that occurs abundantly in nature esp. combined in minerals symbol K see ELEMENT (table)

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a mineral element and an important constituent of the human body. It is the main base ion of intracellular fluid. Together with sodium, it helps to maintain the electrical potential of the nervous system and is thus essential for the functioning of nerve and muscle. Normal blood levels are between 3.5 and 5 mmols/litre. High concentrations occur particularly in kidney failure and may lead to arrhythmia and finally to cardiac arrest. Low values result from fluid loss, e.g. due to vomiting or diarrhoea, and this may lead to general muscle paralysis. Symbol: K.

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po·tas·si·um (K) (pə-tasґe-əm) a metallic element of the alkali group, many of whose salts are used in medicine. It is a soft, silver-white metal, melting at 58°F; atomic number, 19; atomic weight, 39.102; specific gravity, 0.87. Potassium is the chief cation of muscle and most other cells (intracellular fluid); see also sodium-potassium pump, under pump.

Medical dictionary. 2011.

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  • Potassium — (pronEng|pəˈtæsiəm) is a chemical element. It has the symbol K ( la. kalium, from ar. qalīy), atomic number 19, and atomic mass 39.0983. The name potassium comes from the word potash , as potassium was first isolated from potash. Potassium is a… …   Wikipedia

  • POTASSIUM — Le potassium, troisième élément de ce groupe, possède les propriétés caractéristiques des métaux alcalins. Il a été découvert en 1807 par Humphry Davy lors de la réduction électrolytique de la potasse caustique fondue (KOH). Son symbole chimique… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Potassium — Argon ← Potassium → Calcium Na …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Potassium — Po*tas si*um, n. [NL. See {Potassa}, {Potash}.] (Chem.) An Alkali element, occurring abundantly but always combined, as in the chloride, sulphate, carbonate, or silicate, in the minerals sylvite, kainite, orthoclase, muscovite, etc. Atomic weight …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Potassĭum — Potassĭum, soviel wie Kalium …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • potassium — Symbol: K Atomic number: 19 Atomic weight: 39.0983 Soft silvery metallic element belonging to group 1 of the periodic table (alkali metals). Occurs naturally in seawater and a many minerals. Highly reactive, chemically, it resembles sodium in its …   Elements of periodic system

  • potassium — metallic element, 1807, coined by English chemist Sir Humphrey Davy (1778 1829) from Mod.L. potassa, Latinized form of POTASH (Cf. potash) (q.v.). Davy first isolated it from potash. Symbol K is from L. kalium potash, from Arabic al qaliy the… …   Etymology dictionary

  • potassium — ► NOUN ▪ a soft silvery white reactive metallic element of the alkali metal group. ORIGIN from POTASH(Cf. ↑potash) …   English terms dictionary

  • potassium — [pə tas′ē əm] n. [ModL: so named (1807) < potassa < Du potasch, POTASH, by Humphrey DAVY Sir Humphry, who first isolated it from potash] a soft, silver white, waxlike metallic chemical element, one of the alkali metals, that oxidizes… …   English World dictionary

  • potassium — /peuh tas ee euhm/, n. Chem. a silvery white metallic element that oxidizes rapidly in the air and whose compounds are used as fertilizer and in special hard glasses. Symbol: K; at. wt.: 39.102; at. no.: 19; sp. gr.: 0.86 at 20°C. [1800 10; < NL; …   Universalium

  • Potassium 40 — Le potassium 40, noté 40K, est l isotope du potassium dont le nombre de masse est égal à 40 : son noyau atomique compte 19 protons et 21 neutrons. C est un radioisotope du milieu naturel qu on trouve par exemple dans la bauxite… …   Wikipédia en Français

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