What Is Hypercalcemia Or High Calcium? Know Its Diagnosis And Treatment

Hypercalcemia is the condition of excessive calcium in blood. Here are diagnosis and treatment methods that could be useful.

Written by: Puru Bansal Updated at: 2022-02-27 10:30

Hypercalcemia is a condition in which calcium levels in the blood rises above than normal. This accounts for more than necessary amount of calcium in your blood which can actually weaken your bones. Yes, it is true, excessive calcium in blood weakens bones and also causes kidney stones to occur. It interferes with your heart and brain that could actually cause serious health complications. Hypercalcemia is often caused because of overactive parathyroid gland which is situated in the neck. There are many symptoms and few causes of having this disorder. What is important is to know about its treatment and diagnosis process. Today we will discuss about treatment of this condition.

Diagnosis of Hypercalcemia 

Since this condition occurs because of overactive parathyroid gland. It is important to check for thyroid condition and related issues. We spoke to Dr. Venkateshwar Nair, Head of Hematology in BNK Hospital, Kochi. He explained that there are four tiny glands that are situated in the neck that could cause increase in calcium in the body and result to this disorder.

It usually happens because of taking too many vitamin D supplements or calcium supplements in the body. Usually there are no symptoms in majority of cases; hence the diagnosis needs to be done depending on just few signs in most cases. This could be found out in the routine blood tests in the body. If you have high levels of parathyroid hormone in the body, then it is an indication that you might be suffering from Hypercalcemia

To determine the cause of Hypercalcemia, you need to take some tests for your bones and lungs too. These tests are taken to confirm if Hypercalcemia is caused because of some underlying cancer. CT scans; mammogram and chest rays are common tests that are done to confirm these cases.

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Treatment of Hypercalcemia

This disease also ranges from mild to severe. Some people can get treated through simple medicines whereas other require steroid medications or strong drugs to counter the disbalanced of hormones. The last option is always through surgical method and operation.

1. Calcitonin- As the name suggests this medication is given to control the calcium levels present in the blood. But this drug may also cause mild nausea as a side-effect.

2. Calcimimetics- This is a type of medicine that is used to control overactive parathyroid in people. It is a major cause of having Hypercalcemia and therefore it is required to be given in most conditions. It helps to manage Hypercalcemia and could treat your problem in a few days.

3. Prednisone- It is a medical steroid which is given to patients that have got Hypercalcemia because of high levels of vitamin-D in their body. Short term use of this steroid can be effective but it should be considered as a permanent treatment. 

4. Bisphosphonates- This is an intravenous osteoporosis drug which is used to lower down calcium levels in the body. Bisphosphonates are used to reduce the risk of cancer and is associated with risk of certain types of thigh fractures as well. This medicine is only given in case of severe complications where other medicines are not effective.

5. IV fluids and diuretics- It is used in extreme condition where there is medical emergency. Diuretics are used in hospitals most often because it needs to be given in regulated amount so that there is no side-effect of this condition. Diuretics can lower the calcium levels in a short span of time and can also prevent heart rhythm disorders that are a risk factor of this condition.

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Surgical Procedures and Other Ailments

Apart from medicines, if the case of person becomes worse, then surgical method is chosen. Problems with overactive parathyroid glands can be often cured by surgery. This is done through removal of tissue that is causing major Hypercalcemia. In most cases, just one out of 4 glands are affected which could be removed by surgical method.

There is also a special type of scanning test that makes use of radioactive substance to pinpoint at the gland that is the cause of dysfunction. This could help determine the cause and surgery could be done to treat that parathyroid gland.

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