What Is a Calcium Blood Test and Why Is It Needed?

Calcium is crucial for the human body for teeth and bone growth and other purposes. A calcium test determines whether your body has a healthy level of the essential mineral. A high level of calcium in the body is associated with various medical conditions. Let’s explore more details about the calcium blood test. 

Types of Calcium Blood Tests

A doctor might prescribe one of the following types of calcium tests:

  • Total Calcium: The test helps measure calcium attached to specific proteins in the blood. It is also a method of identifying unattached or free calcium in the body. A basic metabolic panel test for routine blood screening usually includes total calcium.
  • Ionized Calcium: The test helps measure free or unattached calcium from specific proteins in the blood.

When Do You Need a Calcium Blood Test?

A doctor will prescribe a calcium blood test when you have symptoms indicating an excess or deficit of the mineral. Some signs of calcium deficit (hypocalcemia) are as follows:

  • Muscle cramps (particularly in the legs and back)
  • Brittle nails
  • Dry and scaly skin
  • Depression
  • Restlessness
  • Irritability
  • Confusion

Symptoms associated with severe hypocalcemia are as follows:

  • Muscle aches
  • Tingling sensation in the fingers, feet, tongue, and lips
  • Muscle stiffening and spasms (tetany)
  • Muscle spasms in the throat causing breathing issues
  • Abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmia)

When the calcium level in your blood is very high (hypercalcemia), you will notice the following symptoms:

  • Fatigue
  • Frequent urge to urinate
  • Increased thirst
  • Constipation
  • Loss of appetite
  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Headaches

Sometimes medical practitioners also recommend calcium tests if you suffer from a disease that leads to imbalance. Diseases that lead to an imbalance in the blood calcium levels are as follows:

  • Kidney issues
  • Thyroid
  • Parathyroid condition
  • A few types of cancer
  • Malnutrition due to a lack of calcium and vitamin D in the body

Some medications like calcitonin, rifampin, bisphosphonates, and lithium can also affect blood calcium levels. Your medical provider might ask you to get a calcium test done regularly if you are taking any of these medications. 

What to Expect During a Calcium Blood Test

Usually, a phlebotomist will draw out blood to perform a calcium test. You can expect the following during the process of drawing blood:

  • The phlebotomist will identify an easily accessible vein on the arm. The vein is usually found on the other side of your elbow in the inner part of your arm.
  • After locating the vein, the area will be cleaned and disinfected.
  • A small needle will be inserted inside the vein to draw a blood sample. It will usually feel like a small pinch.
  • The needle will help collect a small amount of blood in a test tube.
  • They will pull out the needle when they have enough blood.
  • They will hold a gauze or cotton ball on the area to prevent bleeding.
  • In the end, they will place a bandage over the area.

The whole process gets completed within a few minutes. The samples are sent to a medical laboratory for testing using machines called analyzers.  

What to Expect from a Calcium Blood Test

After your calcium blood test, you will have to wait till you get the results. You can usually expect the results the next day. However, remember to ask the hospital or laboratory when you can expect the result. 

Are There Any Risks Associated with a Calcium Blood Test?

A calcium test is similar to a routine blood test. There’s an extremely low risk associated with any type of blood test. You might notice a bruise or slight tenderness at the location of the blood draw. However, it will resolve quite quickly. 

What To Do After Receiving Results

You must contact your doctor after receiving your calcium blood test results. The results might indicate an abnormal calcium level, including either deficiency or excess. If you have calcium deficiency, your healthcare provider will recommend oral supplements.

Doctors also prescribe certain medications for hypercalcemia or an excess of calcium. In both cases, doctors also recommend treatment for underlying conditions. A healthcare practitioner might also recommend specific dietary changes to balance the calcium levels in your body.

Final Thoughts

If you need to get your calcium tests done, you can contact Metropolis Hospital. You can expect accurate results from experts at a low cost. The medical professionals will also help you successfully deal with the imbalance.

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