Formal name: Serum phosphate

What is s-phosphate?

Human body functions with the help of lots of minerals. Phosphate is a really important mineral for physiological processes. Phosphate is necessary for bone growth, nerve & muscle production, energy storage etc. Although most of the phosphate is within the bones and teeth, there is still some portion of it flowing within the blood serum. This test determines the level of phosphate in the blood’s serum.

What is being tested?

Phosphorus combines with other substances in the bloodstream and creates several compounds. Although “phosphorus” and “phosphate” – both terms are used in case of the test, but it’s the level of inorganic phosphate that this test counts.

When to get tested?

Generally, abnormality in the level of phosphorus in the blood serum doesn’t cause any noticeable symptom. That’s why this test is typically performed as a follow-up test to an abnormal calcium test. Doctors also suggest performing the test if there is any symptom of abnormal calcium like muscle weakness, bone problems, fatigue etc.

Doctors also prescribe phosphorus test along with other tests if there are symptoms of kidney and gastrointestinal disorders. Moreover, a healthcare practitioner may also suggest phosphorus test for monitoring someone with diabetes or having the signs of acid-base imbalance in the body.

phosphateThe test procedure

This test requires a blood sample from the patient. After reaching a lab, the healthcare personnel will collect the sample of blood by injecting a needle in the arm. Urine can also be a sample for this test by collecting a 24-hour sample.

Your doctor may ask you to follow several things before performing the tests. Follow them properly. This may include not eating anything from midnight. You also should restrain from taking herbal supplements, vitamins etc.

What does the test result mean?

After getting the result, it can be identified if the phosphorus level is abnormal or not. If the phosphorus level is higher than usual (hyperphosphatemia), it may indicate these issues –

  • Kidney failure
  • Hypoparathyroidism
  • Liver disease
  • Increased dietary intake (phosphate supplements etc.)

If the result indicates a lower level of phosphorus (hypophosphatemia) in the blood, it may indicate following conditions –

  • Overuse of diuretics
  • Alcoholism
  • Severe burns
  • Diabetic ketoacidosis (after treatment)
  • Chronic antacid usage
  • Severe burns
  • Malnutrition
  • Rickets & osteomalacia

Anything else I should know?

Although phosphorus is really important for having a better health, abnormal level of phosphorus may lead to lots of complex conditions. Excessive phosphorus level can lead to organ damage due to calcification – depositing calcium phosphate into tissues where it should not be. Such situation is quite rare, but other issues like cardiovascular diseases or osteoporosis are more common.

In the case of children, the phosphate level generally tends to be higher. It’s because they are growing up with active bone growth. Lower phosphate level in children may lead to improper bone growth. The higher level may indicate that there’s the imbalance in the body’s mineral.

Some soft drinks and pre-packaged foods contain a high amount of phosphorus. Some nutritionists believe that these sources contribute to the over-consumption of phosphorus.