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Calcium Test: Why and How is it Done?

Calcium Test: Why and How is it Done?

Calcium is one of the essential minerals of your body that is vital for proper functioning of muscles, heart, and nerves. Your body requires calcium in essential quantities to keep bones and teeth in good health. It is also important to maintain a good range of calcium.

Did you know that 99 per cent of calcium is present in your bones and the rest is present in your blood? Excess or less calcium in your blood may be an indication of medical conditions such as kidney disease, thyroid disease, or bone disease. Calcium test or Ca++ test helps to measure the amount of calcium present in your blood.

Types of calcium test

calcium test

There are two types of Ca++ test:

Total calcium – This type of test is performed to check the number of calcium present in your blood.

Ionized calcium test – This type of test is performed to measure the amount of free calcium present in your blood.

Apart from total and ionized calcium tests, the range of calcium present in your urine is also measured.

Why is a calcium test done?

Your doctor may ask you to do a calcium test as part of a routine blood check-up or if you have symptoms of abnormal calcium levels.

High levels of calcium may have the following symptoms:

  • Constipation
  • Abdominal pain
  • Excess urination
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Excess thirst

Low levels of calcium may have the following symptoms:

  • Irregular heartbeats
  • Muscle cramps/spasms

In some cases, you may have irregular calcium levels even without experiencing any symptoms.

Your doctor may ask you to do the test if you have any medical conditions or medical history that might have an impact on your calcium levels.

Medical conditions that might affect calcium levels include kidney disease, thyroid disease, cancers, and malnutrition.

Prerequisites

Inform your doctor about all the medications, herbals, and supplements you take. Your doctor may ask you to stop or change the dosage of certain medications that may have an impact on the results. Do not change the dosage of any medications, herbs, or supplements without informing your doctor.

Your doctor may ask you to stop antacids and vitamin D supplements before the Ca++ test.

Procedure

To perform the Ca++ test, the healthcare professional at the lab will draw blood from your arm.

Before drawing your blood, your healthcare professional will tie a band around your arm. This will help to pump up the blood. A small needle will be used to draw the blood. The blood will be stored in a tube and will be sent for analysis.

The procedure to draw blood will not take more than 5 to 10 minutes. You will feel a pinch as the needle is inserted into your arm.

Understanding The Results

The normal range of Ca++ test is between 8.5 and 10.2 mg/dL. The normal range may differ depending on the laboratories.

Abnormal levels of calcium in the blood may indicate a number of medical conditions.

If you have calcium levels higher than the normal range, it may indicate the following medical conditions:

  • Paget’s disease
  • Hyperparathyroidism
  • Vitamin D intoxication
  • Sarcoidosis
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Prolonged immobilisation
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Milk alkali syndrome
  • Metastatic bone tumor
  • Addison’s disease

If you have calcium levels lower than the normal range, it may indicate the following medical conditions:

  • Liver disease
  • Osteomalacia
  • Renal failure
  • Vitamin D deficiency
  • Pancreatitis
  • Rickets

When should it be repeated?

If you have or if your doctor suspects you have hyperparathyroidism, your doctor may ask you to repeat the Ca++ test and other blood tests. Hyperparathyroidism is a condition wherein your parathyroid gland produces a parathyroid hormone in excess quantity.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

Calcium Test/https://www.uclahealth.org/endocrine-center/calcium-test/Accessed on 17/02/2020

Calcium Blood Test/https://medlineplus.gov/lab-tests/calcium-blood-test/Accessed on 17/02/2020

Normal Calcium Levels/https://www.uclahealth.org/endocrine-center/normal-calcium-levels/Accessed on 17/02/2020

Calcium Test Cost/https://www.medifee.com/tests/calcium-test-cost/Accessed on 17/02/2020

Calcium/https://labtestsonline.org/tests/calcium/Accessed on 17/02/2020

 

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Written by Nikita Bhalla Updated Oct 20
Fact Checked by Bianchi Mendoza, R.N.