"Understanding the Causes and Symptoms of Hypercalcemia"

"Understanding the Causes and Symptoms of Hypercalcemia"

Hypercalcemia is a medical condition characterized by an unusually high level of calcium in the blood. Most people have no symptoms, but some have poor appetite, nausea, constipation, fatigue and excessive thirst. Understanding its causes and symptoms is crucial for timely diagnosis and treatment.

The Physiology of Calcium in the Body

Calcium is a vital mineral that plays an important role in human health. It is essential for the formation and maintenance of healthy bones and teeth. It also aids in nerve conduction, muscle contraction, and blood clotting. About 99% of the body’s calcium can be found in the bones and teeth, while the remaining 1% circulates in the blood. When the level of calcium in the blood rises above normal, hypercalcemia occurs.

Causes of Hypercalcemia

There are several factors that can cause hypercalcemia. The most common reason is primary hyperparathyroidism, a condition wherein the parathyroid glands produce too much parathyroid hormone (PTH), leading to increased calcium levels in the blood. The second most common cause is certain types of cancer like lung or breast cancer, which can lead to an excess of calcium in the blood.

Other possible causes can include taking too much calcium or vitamin D, certain medications, dehydration, familial hypocalciuric hypercalcemia, and other various health conditions, like sarcoidosis or tuberculosis. It’s important to note that not everyone with high calcium levels will develop symptoms or undergo the same experiences as this can greatly vary from person to person.

Symptoms of Hypercalcemia

Many people with mild hypercalcemia may not show any symptoms and the condition is often detected during routine blood tests. However, when symptoms do occur, they tend to be nonspecific and can mimic other conditions. Some of the most commonly reported symptoms include excessive thirst and frequent urination, stomach upset, digestive issues such as nausea, vomiting and constipation, fatigue, muscle weakness, and confusion or even lethargy in extreme cases.

In severe cases, hypercalcemia can lead to more serious complications such as kidney stones, abnormal heart rhythm, and osteoporosis. Therefore, it is imperative that individuals experiencing any of these symptoms seek immediate medical attention.

Treatment and Management

Determining the appropriate treatment for hypercalcemia often depends on the underlying cause. For mild cases, doctors may recommend monitoring the condition closely without immediate treatment. However, for those with severe hypercalcemia, steps will generally be taken to lower the levels of calcium in the blood. Procedures might include: intravenous fluids and certain medications, addressing the underlying cause, dietary changes, or in rare cases, surgery to remove the parathyroid glands.


Hypercalcemia, like many medical conditions, displays no obvious symptoms in its early stages. However, by understanding and recognizing the potential causes and symptoms of hypercalcemia, individuals can proactively manage their health and seek timely medical attention if needed. It’s a treatable and manageable condition, particularly if it’s caught early, making awareness all the more critical.


  1. Who is most at risk for hypercalcemia?

    People with overactive parathyroid glands, certain types of cancer, and those who consume excessive amounts of calcium or vitamin D are more at risk for developing this condition.

  2. Can diet influence hypercalcemia?

    Yes, too much calcium intake from your diet or supplements can potentially lead to hypercalcemia.

  3. How is hypercalcemia diagnosed?

    Hypercalcemia is typically detected through a blood test. This test may be part of a routine physical examination or could be run if a doctor suspects hypercalcemia based on a patient’s symptoms.

  4. Can you fully recover from hypercalcemia?

    Yes, most people recover fully once the underlying cause is successfully treated or managed.

  5. How can hypercalcemia be prevented?

    Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, getting regular check-ups, and following doctor’s advice, particularly if related to calcium and vitamin D intake, can help in preventing hypercalcemia.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *