Calcium Lab Values – Overview
Calcium is an essential mineral responsible for the health of our bones. Calcium is stored in our bones and helps regulate salt in the blood. The right amount of calcium keeps our bones and teeth strong.
If the required amount of calcium fluctuates, we will start facing some health issues. This article discusses calcium lab values and their importance.
What is a Calcium Blood Test?
A calcium Blood Test is prescribed to check the amount of calcium in our bloodstream. A high or low level of calcium indicates that your body is having some problems. There are two different types of calcium blood tests that your doctor would prescribe you as per your health condition.
Type 1: Total Calcium
Total Calcium measures the amount of calcium attached to protein. It is also measured during the routine blood checkup. Besides this, the same test measures free or unattached calcium.
Type 2: Ionized Calcium
The Ionized Calcium Test measures the amount of free calcium in the blood.
Unfortunately, there is no lab test available to check the amount of calcium in your bones. However, there is a technology called X-ray to check the overall condition of your bones. A special Bone Density Test with X-ray technology checks the condition of your bones.
What is the Importance of Calcium in Our Body?
Most of us are not aware of the importance of this crucial mineral in our bodies. We know about the relationship between calcium and bones/ teeth, but we are not sure about how it helps our overall health.
As per the studies, around 99% of our body’s calcium is stored in bones and teeth. On the other hand, the remaining 1% of calcium is present in our blood. The 1% of the calcium in our bloodstream helps.
- Your nerves work properly
- Your heart functions properly
- Clots blood faster during severe injury
- Muscles function properly
Why Do I Need a Calcium Blood Test?
If your healthcare provider suspects a health condition related to calcium in your blood, then you might be asked to go for a calcium blood test. The calcium blood test is also a part of the routine body checkup which measures the amount of calcium in our blood.
Your doctor would prescribe you this test if he founds one of the below-given health conditions
Low Calcium Levels
- Muscle cramps or stiffness in muscles
- Hairfall problem
- Dry skin
- Weak nails
- Tingling in body parts such as feet, tongue, lips, etc.
High Calcium Levels
- Vomiting or nausea
- Abdominal pain
- Increased thirst
- Loss of appetite
Calcium Lab Values
In adults, a normal blood calcium level is 8.5 to 10.2 milligrams/ deciliter (source). However, the calcium lab values may vary as per the type of procedure that the labs follow.
Some labs follow different techniques to measure the calcium level in our blood, the final results may vary from lab to lab and as per the test technique they use. Your doctor would guide you more about the results.
The final blood calcium lab values indicate the amount of calcium i.e. low or high calcium level in our bloodstream. Make sure to take your reports and discuss the results with your doctor if you have any questions regarding the test report.
What Does a Low Calcium Level Mean?
If the calcium blood test reveals a low level of calcium, then it may indicate that you are having one of the below-listed health conditions…
- Deficiency of Vitamin D
- Kidney problems
- Celiac Disease
In some conditions, the low calcium level in your blood is caused by certain medications. Your doctor would tell you to stop taking medications 24 hours before the blood test to check the calcium level.
What Does a High Calcium Level Mean?
A high calcium level in your calcium blood report reveals…
- Kidney problem
- Lung diseases
- Breast cancer
- Lung cancer
- Blood cancer
If you are having any medications, make sure not to take them at least 24 hours before the final blood test to check the calcium level. Certain medications affect the total amount of calcium in our bloodstream.
Are There Any Risks Associated with the Calcium Blood Test?
There are no risks associated with the calcium blood test. It’s just like a normal blood test. A nurse will collect the blood in a glass tube and send it for further examination.
If you are suffering from certain health conditions, then you might feel a little uncomfortable after the test. Make sure to be there for 15 to 20 minutes after the blood is collected. Once you feel normal, you can come out of the lab and do your normal activities.
Being an important mineral, a calcium blood test is a part of routine health checkups. Many doctors ask for this test to check the amount of calcium. A high or a low calcium level can be treated under special medications and treatments.
Make sure to focus on your diet to keep the amount of calcium well balanced. For any healthcare-related information, you are advised to contact your healthcare provider to get the right information about your queries.