Information and Reasons To Conduct Blood Calcium Level Test

Submitted on March 27, 2012

Calcium is one of the most essential nutrients needed by the body for healthy functioning. Calcium is necessary for bone and teeth development. Calcium maintains bone strength and development, and prevents bone disorders like osteoporosis. While calcium's bone developmental properties are well documented, it also plays an essential role in maintaining muscle and nerve functions, it also maintains glandular function, keeps blood pressure in check, and keeps the arteries in the body free of blockages.

What Is Blood Calcium Level?

The body's calcium content is stored in the bones and plasma and other cellular fluids. The body maintains a tight control over calcium levels in the body and three essential hormones are brought into play for this system to work - the parathyroid hormone (PTH), vitamin D and calcitonin. Together they ensure that when the blood calcium levels dip, the body pulls out calcium reserves stored from the bones. Similarly when calcium content is too high, it is either stored away (in the bones) or passed out. The most dietary common source of calcium is milk, yogurt and leafy greens. An important non-dietary source of calcium is the sunlight (a source of Vitamin D). The importance of Vitamin D calcium levels is already stated above.

Doctors order a blood calcium level test, or a serum calcium level test, to diagnose a number of conditions that concern the bones, nerves, kidneys and heart. This procedure tests to check for calcium content that isn't stored in the bones. A blood calcium test is usually done along with a phosphate test as the combination allows doctors to study a number of conditions.

Reasons Why It is Conducted

A blood calcium level test is used in order to learn more about the following conditions:

  • To check for parathyroid calcium levels in the body. Doctors also order a phosphate test for this. This is because when the parathyroid hormone calcium levels are compared phosphate levels, doctors can make a thorough diagnosis. A disturbance in these levels immediately sounds alarm bells. Kidney conditions are also diagnosed in this manner as well.
  • Multiple myeloma calcium test helps doctors diagnose cancer of the white blood cells.
  • The level of calcium in the body impacts heart function. When levels are higher or lower than lower they translate as abnormal results for an electrocardiogram (EKG) test. An abnormal test usually is followed by a blood calcium test to find out the reason for the results.
  • The test may be ordered to check on the levels of calcium. A very high content usually causes fatigue, weakness, nausea, constipation, etc. A low content causes cramping, depression, a constant tingling sensation, etc.
  • It is also ordered for diagnosing other disorders this includes kidney stones, thyroid disorders, intestinal disorders, bone disorders and neurological disorders.