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Calcium

About the test
What is this test done for?
This test is performed to measure levels of calcium in the blood that is not stored in the bones.
Why is it Done?
It is done to screen or diagnose a range of conditions related to bones, heart, nerves, kidneys, and teeth. It is ordered if there is suspicion of disorders of parathyroid, malabsorption or overactive thyroid function.
When should it be performed?

This test is done when a person shows the following symptoms:

  • Fatigue
  • Indigestion
  • Muscle cramps
  • Muscle twitching
  • Osteoporosis
  • Dizziness
  • Nervous system symptoms
  • Hypertension
  • Kidney disease
  • Bone diseases
How is it done
  • As such, fasting is not required for a blood calcium test. But, if this test is done along with a parathyroid hormone test or vitamin D or a mineral phosphorus study then a minimum of 4 hours gap after food intake is required.
  • The test is done by withdrawing a blood sample from a vein in the arm.
Results

The normal range of serum calcium is 8.5-10.2 mg/dL

  • Positive results mean the following-
    • Levels above 10.2 mg/dL indicates hypercalcemia. It can be due to high intake of calcium or vitamin D. Hyperthyroidism and hyperparathyroidism can lead to hypercalcaemia. Other conditions like cancers related to bones also leads to high calcium. Certain medications can also cause levels of serum calcium to increase.
  • Negative results mean the following-
    • Levels below 8.2 mg/dL indicate hypocalcaemia. Hypothyroidism is one of the commonest causes of hypocalcaemia. Others are vitamin D deficiency, magnesium deficiency, pancreatitis, and kidney or liver diseases.
Other Tests
Parathyroid hormone (PTH) test should be performed to rule out abnormal parathyroid levels as they have an impact on calcium. Thyroid profiles such as hypo- and hyperthyroidism also influence calcium. To rule out kidney and liver diseases, kidney function tests and liver function tests should be performed.
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