A calcium test checks your calcium levels in order to diagnose conditions or monitor existing disorders. Calcium is especially important for your bones, thyroid, nerves and heart. Calcium testing is usually included in your routine health screenings, such as with a basic and comprehensive metabolic panel, and can be ordered by your healthcare provider. Both adults and children can get tested.

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What should I expect from a calcium test?

Calcium testing can be done in two ways: through blood or urine. A blood calcium test is most often part of a routine medical exam and determines the amount of free and unbound calcium in your bloodstream. The urine calcium test determines the amount of calcium that is excreted by the kidneys and is most often used when there are symptoms of kidney stones.

An ionized calcium serum test measures the unbound portion of calcium. Measurement of ionized calcium is taken only for specific cases, including critically ill patients, patients who need blood transfusion or those with blood protein abnormalities.

Who should get a calcium test?

A healthcare provider may order a calcium test for patients with the following symptoms:

  • Fatigue
  • Abdominal pain
  • Constipation
  • Muscle cramps
  • Increased thirst
  • Tingling fingers

What do normal calcium levels show?

Normal calcium levels change with a person’s age and, when the results are taken alone, are not enough for a proper diagnosis. A normal calcium level in addition to normal results from other laboratory tests show proper calcium absorption and function.

What are some causes of low calcium levels?

Low calcium levels, also known as hypocalcemia, may be caused by several conditions, including:

  • Liver disease
  • Low level of albumin
  • Parathyroid disorders
  • Hypoparathyroidism
  • Decreased levels of vitamin D
  • Low calcium intake in your diet
  • Pancreatitis
  • Magnesium deficiency
  • Malabsorption disorders

What are some causes of high calcium levels?

High calcium levels, also known as hypercalcemia, may be caused by several conditions, including:

  • Hyperparathyroidism
  • Overactive thyroid
  • Kidney disease
  • Sarcoidosis
  • Bone diseases
  • Vitamin D intoxication
  • Tuberculosis
  • Cancer
  • Milk-alkali syndrome, usually caused by taking too many calcium supplements
  • HIV/AIDS

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