Procedure

Calcium (Ca)- Pathology

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Calcium is important to the human body, as it is the primary mineral that builds stronger bones and muscles. It makes our muscles contract and helps with heart function and blood coagulation. Almost 99% of the body’s calcium is located in our teeth and bones.

The human body cannot produce calcium on its own. You can only get calcium from the foods you eat. If your body doesn’t have enough calcium, your bones will easily break.

The two important nutrients for our bones are calcium and vitamin D. Getting enough of these two builds strong and dense bones.

Why is calcium testing required?

During a routine health screening, a blood calcium test may be requested by your doctor. The doctor may request for a calcium test when someone has:

  • Kidney disease. It is common for a patient with kidney failure to have low calcium.
  • High calcium levels. Symptoms of high calcium include:
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Abdominal pain
  • Urinary frequency
  • Increased thirst
  • Low calcium levels. Symptoms of very low calcium include:
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Muscle cramps
  • Tingling fingers

Other diseases that have been associated with abnormal blood calcium levels include:

  • Thyroid disease
  • Parathyroid disorder
  • Malabsorption
  • Cancer
  • Malnutrition

When someone experience numbness around the mouth, hands, and feet, along with muscle spasms in the same areas, this could indicate low levels of ionized calcium. An ionized calcium test may also be recommended by your doctor.

Calcium monitoring is important to track the progress and efficacy of treatment.

A urine calcium test is recommended when a person experiences severe pain in the side or back near the kidney, as it may be indicative of kidney stones.

Which doctor to consult?

Talk to a primary care doctor, who will explain to you about the procedure, the risks and after-care.

What to expect during calcium testing

Stop taking your medications before a calcium test to obtain accurate results.

Blood sample will be taken with a needle from a vein in your arm. A 24-hour urine sample or a timed collection of a shorter duration may also be obtained.

References

Calcium/Vitamin D Requirements, Recommended Foods & Supplements. (2019). Retrieved from https://www.nof.org/patients/treatment/calciumvitamin-d/

Calcium. (2019). Retrieved from https://labtestsonline.org/tests/calcium

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