Total Calcium Blood Test
A total calcium blood test, commonly called a calcium blood test. It helps measure the total amount of calcium in the blood. Calcium is an essential mineral in the body, and the body stores most of its calcium in the bones.
You need calcium to have healthy teeth and bones. It also helps in maintaining heart, muscle, and heart function. The importance of calcium in different body process makes it vital to have calcium within the right range.
Another calcium blood test called the Ionised calcium blood test is available. This test measures the amount of free calcium in the blood. Free calcium is calcium not bound to proteins or anions in the blood.
Aside from these blood calcium tests, you can have a test to measure the calcium level in your urine. In some cases, the doctor may diagnose calcium deficiency through a bone profile blood test result.
Uses and purpose of calcium blood test
Your doctor may order a total calcium blood test as part of your routine metabolic panel during a physical examination. You may also need a calcium blood test if you show symptoms of high or low calcium levels.
If your doctor suspects malnutrition, parathyroid disease, cancer or kidney disease, they may order a calcium blood test.
Your doctor may tell you to fast or avoid taking certain supplements or medications before your calcium blood test. Some medications to avoid before a calcium blood test include:
- Calcium supplements
- Thiazide diuretics
- Vitamin D supplements
- Antacids containing calcium
Ensure you inform the doctor of any supplements or medication you are taking so you can receive the right guidelines before the test.
Foods and drinks containing large amounts of calcium can considerably increase your blood calcium levels, affecting test results.
Your healthcare provider will draw your blood sample from your arm to carry out the test. To draw your blood sample, the phlebotomist inserts the needle into the vein of your arm, then draw a little amount of blood into a tube.
Drawing a blood sample takes less than five minutes, and you may feel slight pain when the healthcare provider inserts the needle in your arms.
The normal calcium range for adults is 8.6 – 10.2 milligrams per decilitre (mg/dL). However, this range may vary between labs depending on their standard range.
To interpret your test result, ensure you check the reference ranges provided with your test result.
What does a high level mean?
If your test result falls above the reference range, you have a high level of calcium in your blood, which means you have hypercalcemia.
Common symptoms of high calcium levels include the following;
- Low appetite
- Vomiting or nausea
- Excessive thirst
- Frequent urge to urinate
- Low appetite
- Bone pain
- Tiredness or weakness
Conditions or diseases that may be responsible for hypercalcemia include:
- Adrenal gland or kidney failure
- Primary hyperparathyroidism (having overactive parathyroid glands or some cancers). These account for 80 – 90% of hypercalcemia
- Sarcoidosis, an inflammatory disease responsible for growths called granulomas which develops throughout the body
- Some medications such as lithium thiazide diuretics
- Excessive intake of vitamin D or calcium supplements
- Being immobilised for a prolonged period
The doctor will identify the cause of your hypercalcemia and offer treatment for the condition to help your blood calcium level return to normal. You may also need further testing, such as a bone profile test in London to identify the cause of the problem.
What does a low level mean?
If your blood calcium levels fall below the reference range, your blood calcium level is low, and you have hypocalcemia.
In most cases, hypocalcemiaoccurs due to excess calcium lost through the urine or when insufficient calcium moves from the bone to the blood.
Common symptoms of low calcium levels are:
- Irregular heartbeat
- Muscle or abdominal cramps
- A tingling sensation in the fingers
Some conditions or diseases that may lead to hypocalcemia include:
- Pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas)
- Kidney failure
- Hypoparathyroidism(underactive parathyroid gland)
- Vitamin D or calcium deficiency in the diet
- Some medications such as anticonvulsants, rifampin, and corticosteroids
- Low levels of albumin due to liver disease or malnutrition
- Problems with calcium absorption
Your doctor may recommend calcium and vitamin D supplements to treat hypocalcemia. If you have an underlying condition causing hypocalcemia, the doctor will diagnose and treat it.
Your doctor will likely recommend a calcium blood test alongside a bone profile blood test UK during your routine metabolic testing.
If you notice high or low calcium symptoms,visit Private Blood Tests London today for diagnosis and a bone profile blood test near me. Call us now on 020 7183 0244 to schedule an appointment for your calcium blood test. Our doctor will recommend the right treatment to ensure your blood calcium level becomes normal depending on your calcium blood test result.