Taking Charge of Your Health

Causes of excess calcium in the blood and
how to treat it. Hypercalcemia is the excess of calcium in
the blood, and occurs when the value of this mineral is greater than 10.5mg / dl in the
blood test, which can be caused by alterations of the parathyroid glands, tumors, endocrinological
diseases, or by side effect of certain medicines, for example. This change usually does not cause symptoms,
or causes only mild symptoms such as poor appetite and motion sickness. However, when
levels of calcium rise excessively, staying above 12mg / dl, it can cause symptoms with
constipation, increased urine, drowsiness, fatigue, headache, arrhythmias and even coma. The treatment of hypercalcemia varies according
to its cause and is considered an emergency if it causes symptoms or reaches the value
of 13mg / dl. As a way to lower calcium levels, your doctor may recommend use of serum, diuretics,
calcitonia, or bisphosphonates, for example. Possible symptoms. Although calcium is a very important mineral
for bone health and for the vital processes of the body, when it is in excess it can negatively
affect the functioning of the organism, with signs such as: Headache and excessive tiredness;
Feeling of constant thirst; Frequent urge to urinate;
Nausea and vomiting; Decreased appetite;
Cardiac arrhythmias; changes in kidney function and risk of stone
formation; Frequent cramps or muscle spasms. In addition, people with hypercalcemia may
also have symptoms related to neurological changes such as memory loss, depression, easy
irritability or confusion, for example. Main causes of hypercalcemia. The main cause of excess calcium in the body
is hyperparathyroidism , in which the small parathyroid glands, located behind the thyroid,
produce in excess a hormone that regulates the amount of calcium in the blood. However, other causes may be: Chronic renal insufficiency;
Excess vitamin D, mainly due to diseases such as sarcoidosis, tuberculosis, coccidioidomycosis
or overconsumption; Side effect of using certain medications such
as diuretics or lithium, for example; Tumor in the bones, kidneys or intestine in
advanced stage; Tumor in pancreatic islets;
Multiple myeloma; Milk-alkali syndrome, caused by excessive
intake of calcium and use of antacids; Paget’s disease;
Endocrine disorders such as thyrotoxicosis, pheochromocytoma and Addison’s disease. Malignant hypercalcemia arises due to the
production of a hormone similar to the parathyroid hormone by the cells of a tumor, which causes
severe hypercalcemia and difficult to treat. Another form of hypercalcemia in cases of
cancer happens due to bone lesions caused by metastases to the bones. How to confirm the diagnosis. The diagnosis of hypercalcemia can be confirmed
by blood test, which detects total calcium values ​​above 10.5mg / dl or ionic calcium
above 5.3mg / dl, depending on the laboratory performed. After confirming this change, the doctor should
request tests to identify the cause, which includes the measurement of the PTH hormone
produced by the parathyroid glands, imaging tests such as tomography or resonance to investigate
cancer, as well as evaluation of vitamin D levels , function of the kidneys or presence
of other endocrinological diseases. How is the treatment done? The treatment of hypercalcemia is usually
indicated by the endocrinologist, done mainly according to its cause, which includes the
use of medicines to control hormone levels, the exchange of medicines that the person
takes for others who do not have hypercalcemia as a side effect or surgery for removal of
tumors that may be causing excess calcium if this is the cause. The treatment is not done urgently, except
in cases where symptoms are caused or where blood calcium levels reach 13.5mg / dl, which
poses a great risk to health. Thus, the doctor may prescribe hydration in
the vein, loop diuretics, such as Furosemide, calcitonin or biphosphonates, to try to reduce
calcium levels and prevent changes in heart rhythm or injury to the nervous system. Surgery to treat hypercalcemia is used only
when the cause of the problem is the malfunction of one of the parathyroid glands, and it is
recommended to remove it.

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