What is Hypercalcemia?
Calcium is an important mineral in our bodies; it helps with our organs, muscles, and bones with normal functioning.
High levels of calcium in our body, also known as Hypercalcemia, can disrupt the normal functioning of our organs. Excessive calcium in your blood can weaken your bones, create kidney stones and interfere with how your heart and brain function. .
What are the types Of Hypercalcemia?
One can classify Hypercalcemia into the following groups based on the calcium levels in the blood:
Mild: 10.5 to 11.9 mg/dL
Moderate: 12.0 to 13.9 mg/dL
Severe: 14.0 to 16.0 mg/dL
What are the symptoms of Hypercalcemia:
Mild levels may not cause any symptoms. Severe cases will present with symptoms according to the organ affected, such as :
- Abdomen – Excess amounts of calcium in your body can cause gastrointestinal symptoms like stomach upset, vomiting, and constipation.
- Bones and muscles – The increased calcium level in your blood can affect the bones and muscles. It can lead to weakness, pain, and cramps in the muscles.
- Kidneys – High amounts of calcium damages your kidneys. It can lead you to feel excessive thirst and frequent urination.
- Brain – This condition can cause severe neurological symptoms like depression, memory loss, and irritability. It can also cause confusion and lethargy.
- Heart – Hypercalcemia can cause abnormal heart rhythms, palpitations, and fainting.
When to See A Doctor?
Visit your doctor if you notice symptoms like excess thirst, abdominal pain, nausea, a frequent urge to urinate, or any of the signs mentioned above. For immediate consultation,
Call 1860-500-1066 to book an appointment
What causes Hypercalcemia?
- Hyperparathyroidism – The parathyroid glands are four small glands that produce the parathyroid hormone (PTH). Too much production of PTH can cause calcium imbalance in the body.
- Cancer – Lung cancers, breast cancer, and blood cancer can cause Hypercalcemia.
- Other diseases – Ailments like tuberculosis and sarcoidosis can raise your body’s calcium levels.
- Severe dehydration. – Dehydration causes your calcium level to rise due to the low amount of fluid present in your blood.
- Medications – Medications like diuretics, which causes loss of body water, can cause Hypercalcemia. Drugs like lithium, which stimulate the release of PTH, can also lead to this .
- Supplements – Excess intake of over-the-counter calcium or Vitamin D supplements can cause this condition.
What are the Risk Factors?
Common Risk Factors associated with Hypercalcemia include:
- Age – People above the age of 50 years are at a higher risk.
- Family History – A family history of high calcium levels can increase the chances of developing this disease.
- Gender – Women, especially older age groups are at a higher risk of developing it.
- Other Kidney conditions – Kidney conditions like kidney failure, kidney stones, kidney cancer, etc. can increase the calcium levels in the body.
What are the treatment methods available?
Treatment option depends on the severity and cause of the condition. Your doctor will determine that through blood, urine, and other diagnostic tests like Chest X –rays, CT Scans, mammogram, and DEXA bone mineral density tests. Once the doctor identifies severity and causes, the following treatments may be prescribed:
- Calcitonin . This hormone controls calcium levels in your blood. Mild nausea may be a side effect.
- Calcimimetics. This kind of drug may help control overactive parathyroid glands.
- Bisphosphonates. Intravenous osteoporosis medications that can lower calcium levels quickly, are often used to treat hypercalcemia due to cancer.
- Denosumab. This medicine is frequently used to treat people with cancer-caused hypercalcemia who do not respond well to bisphosphonates.
- Prednisone. If your hypercalcemia is due to high levels of vitamin D, short-term use of steroid tablets like prednisone are generally helpful.
- IV fluids and diuretics: Very high levels of calcium could be a medical emergency. You may need hospitalization for treatment with IV fluids and diuretics to quickly lower the calcium level to prevent damage to the nervous system or heart rhythm problems.
Surgical and other procedures
Problems linked to overactive parathyroid glands can often be cured by surgery to remove the tissue that is causing the problem.
Dialysis might be performed if you have damaged kidneys. It helps filter and get rid of excess calcium in your body.
Your doctor will discuss the above-mentioned treatment options based on the tests and the underlying cause of the condition. To know more about these treatment options contact your nearest Apollo Hospitals or visit AskApollo.
What are its complications?
Excess calcium levels can lead to the following complications:
- Osteoporosis – Excess release of calcium in your blood can lead to the development of weaker bones.
- Kidney stones – Too much calcium in the urine can form crystals in your kidney. These crystals can combine into a kidney stone, which is a painful condition.
- Kidney failure – Severehypercalcemia can limit your kidney’s ability to filter and cleanse the blood. It can also cause damage to the kidneys or kidney failure.
- Nervous system problems – Calcium helps your nervous system to function properly. High calcium levels can cause dementia or confusion.
- Abnormal heart rhythm (arrhythmia) – It can interfere with the electrical impulses in your heart and cause it to beat irregularly.
What are the different preventive measures for Hypercalcemia?
Some of the primary ways to prevent this conditionare as follows:
- Drink Plenty of water
- Avoid calcium supplements – Do not take excessive and unsupervised amounts of calcium pills and calcium-based antacid tablets.
- Kidney problems – Discuss with your doctor if you suffer from any chronic kidney conditions like kidney stones or have a family history of kidney failure.
Hypercalcemia is a treatable medical condition. Get regular checkups done for early diagnosis. Follow the recomendations prescribed by your doctor and avoid over-the-counter medications.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS):
- What foods to avoid if you have hypercalcemia?
Avoid consuming dairy products like milk, curd, ice-cream, and cheese if you have hypercalcemia.
- Can the consumption of too much dairy cause hypercalcemia?
Consuming dairy products does not cause hypercalcemia. However, once diagnosed, avoid consuming it.
- Can smoking and alcohol affect calcium levels?
Smoking and alcohol consumption interferes with the production of vitamin D, which is essential for calcium absorption. It can cause an imbalance in the calcium levels in your body.