Magnesium is a vital nutrient that is required by the body in trace quantities to function smoothly. Any disturbance in the levels of magnesium can be caused, if the absorption of magnesium in the small intestines is impaired or large amounts of magnesium are being excreted.
If there is an ailment in the kidneys, magnesium blood levels are checked to detect the problem. A magnesium lab test can also help evaluate the severity of diabetes and various gastrointestinal disorders. If the magnesium levels are persistently low, it can cause malabsorption of calcium and potassium. In fact, abnormal levels of magnesium can also be associated with problems in the absorption of phosphorus and secretion of the parathyroid hormones.
Sometimes, a magnesium test is prescribed to those who are taking magnesium or calcium supplements. These tests help evaluate the body's response to these supplements. Since magnesium is important for the absorption of calcium, potassium and phosphorus, a deficiency of any of these can be attributed to abnormal magnesium levels in the blood. Apart from these, magnesium is also important for the expansion and contraction of the muscles. Weakness, twitching or cramping of the muscles can also be indications of magnesium deficiency and such symptoms usually warrant the prescription of blood magnesium tests.
Since magnesium is required in trace quantities by the body, dietary deficiency of magnesium is very rare. Magnesium deficiency can be caused due to malnutrition, chronic vomiting, diarrhea or substance abuse. There are also certain medications that may cause malabsorption of magnesium or induce excessive excretion by the kidneys.
In case of deficiency of magnesium, blood sugar can become uncontrolled. As a person continues to be deficient of magnesium, blood pressure can also soar. This is because magnesium helps regulate blood sugar and also helps maintain normal blood pressure. For both soaring blood pressure and uncontrolled diabetes, magnesium blood tests are ordered.
Some of the metals act as electrolytes in the body. Essential nutrients like calcium, phosphorus, sodium, potassium and bicarbonates are some of the electrolytes that help in the performance of various metabolic processes. Just like these electrolytes, magnesium is also a very important electrolyte and a test of magnesium may be prescribed to check the electrolyte balance of a suffering patient. Magnesium levels of the blood cause malabsorption of many of these electrolytes and therefore an electrolyte imbalance ensues when there is a problem with absorption of magnesium.
For an adult, 1.3-2.1 milliequivalents of magnesium per liter of blood is the normal magnesium amount. However, magnesium levels can normally be low for women in the second and third trimesters of their pregnancy.