External balance and distribution of potassium. The usual Western diet contains approximately 100 mEq of potassium per day. Under normal circumstances, renal excretion accounts for approximately 90% of daily potassium elimination, the remainder being excreted in stool and (a negligible amount) in sweat. About 90% of total body potassium is located in the intracellular fluid (ICF), the majority in muscle. Although the extracellular fluid (ECF) contains about 10% of total body potassium, less than 1% is located in the plasma [9]. Thus, disorders of potassium metabolism can be classified as those that are due 1) to altered intake, 2) to altered elimination, or 3) to deranged transcellular potassium shifts.

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