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What is Hypercalcemia?

Hypercalcemia is a high calcium level in the blood serum. Calcium is essential for the normal function of organs, cells, muscles, and nerves. It helps in blood clotting and bone health. However, too much calcium can cause so many problems. Hypercalcemia makes it hard for the body to carry out its normal functions. Extremely high levels of calcium can be life-threatening.

Symptoms of Hypercalcemia

You might not have signs or symptoms if your hypercalcemia is mild. More-severe cases produce signs and symptoms related to the parts of your body affected by the high calcium levels in your blood. Examples include:

  • Kidneys. Excess calcium makes your kidneys work harder to filter it. This can cause excessive thirst and frequent urination.
  • Digestive system. It can cause stomach upset, nausea, vomiting, and constipation.
  • Bones and muscles. In most cases, the excess calcium in your blood was leached from your bones, which weakens them. This can cause bone pain and muscle weakness.
  • Brain. Hypercalcemia can interfere with how your brain works, resulting in confusion, lethargy, and fatigue.
  • Heart. Rarely, severe hypercalcemia can interfere with your heart function, causing palpitations and fainting, indications of cardiac arrhythmia, and other heart problems.

Causes of Hypercalcemia

  • Cancer. It causes Lung cancer, breast cancer, as well as some blood cancers.
  • Immobility. People who have a condition that causes them to spend a lot of time sitting or lying down can develop hypercalcemia. Over time, bones that don’t bear weight release calcium into the blood.
  • Severe dehydration. A common cause of mild or transient hypercalcemia is dehydration. Having less fluid in your blood causes a rise in calcium concentrations.
  • Supplements. Taking excessive amounts of calcium or vitamin D supplements over time can raise calcium levels in your blood above normal.

Complications

Complications may include:

  • Osteoporosis. Which could lead to bone fractures, spinal column curvature, and loss of height.
  • Kidney stones. If your urine contains too much calcium, crystals might form in your kidneys. Over time, the crystals can combine to form kidney stones. Passing a stone can be extremely painful.
  • Kidney failure. It can damage your kidneys, limiting their ability to cleanse the blood and eliminate fluid.
  • Nervous system problems. It leads to confusion, dementia, and coma, which can be fatal.
  • Abnormal heart rhythm. It can affect the electrical impulses that regulate your heartbeat, causing your heart to beat irregularly.