Calcium is a mineral needed for bone health, muscle movement, and nerve function. Hypercalcemia is higher than normal levels of calcium in your blood. High levels can cause several problems throughout the body. Long-term high calcium levels can also lead to kidney stones.
Vitamin D helps to absorb calcium from food or supplements. Once in your body, calcium may be stored in the bones or exist in the blood. Excess calcium may be excreted through the kidneys. Levels of calcium in the blood are normally regulated by hormones from the parathyroid gland. Hypercalcemia may occur if an illness or medication interferes with this process. The most common cause of hypercalcemia is an overactive parathyroid gland.
Dehydration can also cause a temporary hypercalcemia. Decreased fluid in the blood causes an increase in concentration of calcium.
Calcium is a mineral needed for bone health, muscle movement, and nerve function. Hypercalcemia is higher than normal levels of calcium in your blood.
High levels can cause several problems throughout the body. Long-term high calcium levels can also lead to kidney stones.
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You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.
Your bodily fluids will be tested. This can be done with:
- Blood tests
- Urine tests
If hypercalcemia is associated with a parathyroid problem your doctor may need images with:
- CT scan
- MRI scan
Other tests may be done to look for any effects of hypercalcemia such as:
- An ECG to check electrical activity of your heart
- A bone mineral density test to measure the amount of calcium in an area of your bone
To help reduce your chance of getting hypercalcemia, manage conditions such as hyperparathyroidism.
Factors that may interfere with hormones and lead to hypercalcemia include:
- Certain types of cancer
- Thyroid problems
- Certain disorders such as adrenal insufficiency and acromegaly
- Certain medications such as lithium
Factors that may increase the amount of calcium in the body include:
- Excess vitamin D and/or vitamin A supplements—increases absorption of calcium
- Certain medications, including diuretics and calcium-containing antacids
- Certain diseases associated with inflammation such as sarcoidosis, berylliosis, or tuberculosis
- Hodgkin lymphoma
Other factors that may increase your risk of hypercalcemia include:
- Excess vitamin D—causes release of calcium from the bones into the blood
- Cancer or treatment for cancer—causes release of calcium from damaged cells
- Genetic disorders
- Phosphate deficiency in newborns
- Kidney disease or failure—cannot get rid of calcium
Symptoms may include:
- Bone pain
- Muscle weakness
- Nausea and vomiting
- Weight loss
- Abdominal pain
- Difficulty concentrating and memory problems
- Irregular heartbeat
Treatment will depend on the cause of hypercalcemia. Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Options include: