A blood calcium test is ordered to screen for, diagnose, and monitor a range of conditions relating to the bones, heart, nerves, kidneys, and teeth. The test may also be ordered if a person has symptoms of a parathyroid disorder, malabsorption, or an overactive thyroid. A total calcium level is often measured as part of a routine health screening. It is included in the comprehensive metabolic panel (CMP) and the basic metabolic panel (BMP), groups of tests that are performed together to diagnose or monitor a variety of conditions. When an abnormal total calcium result is obtained, it is viewed as an indicator of an underlying problem. To help diagnose the underlying problem, additional tests are often done to measure ionized calcium, urine calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, vitamin D, parathyroid hormone (PTH) and PTH-related peptide (PTHrP). PTH and vitamin D are responsible for maintaining calcium concentrations in the blood within a narrow range of values. If the calcium is abnormal, measuring calcium and PTH together can help determine whether the parathyroid glands are functioning normally. Measuring urine calcium can help determine whether the kidneys are excreting the proper amount of calcium, and testing for vitamin D, phosphorus, and/or magnesium can help determine whether other deficiencies or excesses exist. Frequently, the balance among these different substances (and the changes in them) is just as important as the concentrations.
Contact your doctor if you have symptoms of calcium deficiency disease. They'll review your medical history and ask you about family history of calcium deficiency and osteoporosis.
If your doctor suspects calcium deficiency, they'll take a blood sample to check your blood calcium level. Your doctor will measure your total calcium level and your albumin level. Albumin is a protein that binds to calcium and transports it through the blood. Sustained low calcium levels in your blood may confirm a diagnosis of calcium deficiency disease.
Normal calcium levels for adults can range from 8. 8 to 10. 4 milligrams per deciliter, according to the Merck Manual. You may be at risk for calcium deficiency disease if your calcium level is below 8. 8 mg/dL. Children and teens typically have higher blood calcium levels than adults.
You can prevent calcium deficiency disease by including calcium in your diet every day. Be aware that foods high in calcium, such as dairy products, can also be high in saturated fat and trans fat. Choose low-fat or fat-free options to reduce your risk of developing high cholesterol and heart disease. You can get one-fourth to one-third of your RDA of calcium in a single serving of some milks and yogurts. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), other calcium-rich foods.
Calcium deficiency is usually easy to treat. It typically involves adding more calcium to your diet.
Do not self-treat by taking a lot of calcium supplements. Taking more than the recommended dose without your doctor's approval can lead to serious issues like kidney stones.
Commonly recommended calcium supplements include:
calcium carbonate: which is the least expensive and has the most elemental calciumcalcium citrate, which is the most easily absorbed
calcium phosphate, which is also easily absorbed and does not cause constipation.
Test Method 1 : A urine calcium test measures the amount of calcium in the urine you produce in a 24-hour period. The test lasts from the morning of one day to the morning of the next.
These steps are usually followed for the urine test:
On the first day, you'll urinate after waking up. Don't save this urine.
Over the next 24 hours, you'll collect all urine in the container your doctor gives you.
On day two, you urinate into the container provided after waking up.
During the 24-hour collection period, close the container and store it in the refrigerator after each time you urinate. Put your name on the container, as well as the date and time the test was completed.
Return the sample as instructed by your doctor.
No risks are associated with the urine calcium test.