Calcium Lab Values | Understanding the Results

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?

Calcium Lab Values

Calcium Lab Values – 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 calcium level indicates your body has some problems. There are two different types of calcium blood tests that your doctor would prescribe you based on your health condition.

Type 1: Total Calcium

Total Calcium measures the amount of calcium in the blood, including calcium attached to proteins and ionized (free) calcium.

Type 2: Ionized Calcium

The Ionized Calcium Test measures the amount of free calcium in the blood.

Bone density tests, also known as dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA or DEXA) scans, measure bone mineral density, including calcium content in bones, not a direct measurement of calcium. However, a technology called X-ray checks 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 people are unaware of the importance of this crucial mineral in our bodies. We know about the relationship between calcium and bones and teeth, but we are not sure 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 calcium in our bloodstream helps with

  • Nerve signal transmission,
  • Muscle contraction,
  • Blood clotting,
  • Heart function

Why Do I Need a Calcium Blood Test?

If your healthcare provider suspects a health condition related to calcium in your blood, you might be asked to take 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 may prescribe this test if they suspect conditions affecting calcium metabolism or to monitor existing conditions.

Low Calcium Levels

  • Muscle cramps or stiffness in muscles
  • Hair fall problem
  • Dry skin
  • Weak nails
  • Tingling in body parts such as feet, tongue, lips, etc.
  • Malnutrition

High Calcium Levels

  • Vomiting or nausea
  • Constipation
  • Abdominal pain
  • Increased thirst
  • Loss of appetite

Calcium Lab Values

Normal blood calcium levels can vary slightly by laboratory, but they are generally considered to be in the range of approximately 8.5 to 10.5 milligrams per deciliter in adults (source). However, the calcium lab values may vary depending on the type of procedure the labs follow.

While laboratory methods may vary, most labs calibrate their tests to ensure comparable results. Variations in normal ranges are due to biological differences and lab-specific reference ranges. 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 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, it may indicate that you have one of the health conditions…

  • Deficiency of Vitamin D
  • Kidney problems
  • Pancreatitis
  • Celiac Disease
  • Hypoparathyroidism
  • Hypomagnesemia

Certain medications can cause low calcium levels in your blood in some conditions. Your doctor may advise you on specific medications to avoid before a calcium blood test. Still, this advice will be personalized based on your health condition and the drugs you are taking.

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
  • Hyperthyroidism

Consult with your healthcare provider before your calcium blood test to determine which medications to avoid or continue. Stopping medications without guidance can be harmful. 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 collects the blood in a glass tube and sends it for further examination.

If you suffer from certain health conditions, you might feel a little uncomfortable after the test. Ensure to be there for 15 to 20 minutes after the blood is collected. Once you feel normal, you can leave the lab and do your normal activities.

Take Away!

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. You are advised to contact your healthcare provider for any healthcare-related information to get the right information about your queries.

See Also

Potassium Lab Values

Metabolic Acidosis Lab Values

Lab Values Nursing

Bun Lab Values

What are the Creatinine Lab Values

What are the Normal Lab Values

Current Version
September 6, 2022
Written By
Shubham Grover
March 19, 2024
Updated By
Franco Cuevas, MD

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