What is a calcium blood test and why you might need one

What is a calcium blood test and why you might need one

Calcium is one of the most important minerals in your body. You need calcium for healthy bones and teeth. Calcium is also essential for proper functioning of your nerves, muscles, and heart.

Your health care provider may require that you have a calcium blood test as part your regular check-up or to help diagnose a specific condition. Read on to find out more about calcium blood tests and whether you may need to have one.

What is a calcium blood test?

A calcium blood test measures the amount of calcium in your blood. While about 99% of your body’s calcium is stored in your bones, the remaining 1% flows in the blood. If there is too much or too little calcium in the blood, it may be a sign of a range of health issues such as bone disease, thyroid disease, kidney disease, or other medical conditions.

Types of calcium Blood tests

There are two types of calcium blood tests:

Total calcium: measures the calcium attached to specific proteins in your blood and is often part of a routine screening test called a basic metabolic panel. This test measures different minerals and other substances in the blood.

Ionized calcium: measures the calcium that is unattached or “free” from these proteins.Diagnosis

A medical professional will carry out a thorough history and physical examination, asking the patient about the frequency of urination and other symptoms. They may also ask you to undergo a number of tests such as urine analysis, ultrasounds, X-ray, STI tests or neurological tests.

Why might you need a calcium blood test?

While your health care professional may have ordered a calcium blood test as part of a routine check-up, they may also order one if you experience the following symptoms:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • More frequent urination
  • Increased thirst
  • Constipation
  • Abdominal pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Tingling in the lips, tongue, fingers, and feet
  • Muscle cramps
  • Muscle spasms
  • Irregular heartbeat

Many people with high or low calcium levels do not have any symptoms. Your health care provider may order a calcium test if you have a pre-existing condition that may affect your calcium levels. These include:

  • Kidney disease
  • Thyroid disease
  • Malnutrition
  • Certain types of cancer

What does a calcium blood test involve?

Calcium blood tests involve a healthcare professional drawing blood from a vein in your arm. Blood draw involves minimal risk, and it is a routine procedure to be completed at a physician’s visit. It is often required that you fast before taking a globulin test. Many doctors ask you to not eat or drink anything for four hours prior to the test. Certain medications may impact the results of the test, and you should consult your doctor if you are taking any medications.

Results usually take several days up to one week to arrive, depending on the size of the laboratory where the test is completed. Your doctor will receive the results from this test, interpret them, determine what the next steps are, and relay all of this information to you.

What do the results mean?

If your results show higher than normal calcium levels, it may indicate:

  • Hyperparathyroidism, a condition in which your parathyroid glands produce too much parathyroid hormone
  • Paget’s disease of the bone, a condition that causes your bones to become too big, weak, and prone to fractures
  • Overuse of antacids that contain calcium
  • Excessive intake of calcium from vitamin D supplements or milk
  • Certain types of cancer

If your results show lower than normal calcium levels, it may indicate:

  • Hypoparathyroidism, a condition in which your parathyroid glands produce too little parathyroid hormone
  • Vitamin D deficiency
  • Magnesium deficiency
  • Inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis)
  • Kidney disease

It is essential to become well-informed and educated regarding the options and treatment methods available to you. If you have any questions regarding calcium blood tests, or would like to book an appointment, please feel free to contact or call Dr Arianayagam’s office on 1300 307 990 and his staff will be able to assist.


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