The high amount of calcium in the blood, or hypercalcemia, can lead to serious complications, such as bone, kidney, brain or heart disorders. When you determine that the count is high, do not use antacids or supplements with this nutrient. In most cases, high calcium is related to hyperactivity of the parathyroid glands. Fortunately, a large number of patients are able to treat hypercalcemia and thyroid disorders through lifestyle changes, the use of medications and, depending on the case, surgery.
Method 1 of 3: Adopting Beneficial Lifestyle Changes
Step 1. Do not take calcium supplements and antacids
This will be the doctor's first advice after checking the high content of the nutrient in the blood, so stop using over-the-counter medications with calcium in the constitution.
- Ask your doctor to recommend a multivitamin that doesn't contain calcium, especially if it's given every day.
- Anyone who has stomach irritation should take a medicine without calcium, such as Pepsamar (aluminum hydroxide) or a fruit salt, such as Eno; still, see a doctor so they can accurately diagnose and prescribe the correct antacid.
even with health "on the edge of the skin", excessive use of supplements or antacids can lead to serious medical problems. Always consult a specialist before taking supplements or medications.
Step 2. Drink at least eight to 10 glasses of fluid a day
Increase the amount of water you drink and avoid (or at least limit) the consumption of calcium-containing beverages such as milk. Drinking this amount of water is an excellent recommendation, as it will exceed 2 L a day, but respect the doctor's recommendations.
- The color of the urine is a good indication of the degree of hydration in the body: it should be clear. If it's dark yellow, you need to drink more fluids.
- Never wait until you get thirsty to drink; this sensation only indicates that you are in the early stages of dehydration.
Step 3. Try to eat less calcium-rich foods after medical advice
You may need to restrict or cut the nutrient from your diet, at least in the short term. Dairy products are the richest products in calcium, so, with the advice of your doctor, reduce your intake or do not eat cheese or drink milk or yogurt.
Also sources of calcium are green leafy vegetables, cereals fortified with the component, and lactose-free milks. For most people, calcium is an important part of healthy eating, so, again, it should only be limited under medical advice
Step 4. Exercise for 30 minutes a day or whenever possible
Hypercalcemia is sometimes associated with sedentary lifestyle; when you can, set aside at least half an hour for low- or moderate-intensity activities each day. Even going up and down stairs, taking light walks and riding a bike will help.
- Before starting a new exercise routine, consult a doctor, especially if you have a health problem.
- If you have a disorder that interferes with your mobility, talk to a health care provider for more tips on how to stay active despite excess calcium.
Method 2 of 3: Identifying the underlying cause
Step 1. Talk to your doctor about your diet, family history and symptoms
High calcium levels are usually diagnosed through routine blood tests; if there are any abnormalities, talk to the specialist about your diet and supplements or medications you use. Inform him of unusual manifestations and if there is a family history of hypercalcemia, parathyroid, or cancer.
most people have no symptoms, but high levels of the nutrient in the blood can cause loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, severe thirst, muscle weakness, bone pain and weakness, tiredness, and confusion.
Step 2. Talk to your doctor about having tests to detect calcium in your blood and urine
Most of the time, the test is done through expanded metabolic panel (PME) or basic metabolic panel (PMB); if the initial results indicate an abnormality, the doctor may order another test to more accurately check the amount of calcium in the blood and urine, confirming the results.
- As this is related to calcium absorption, your doctor may also order you to check your blood levels of vitamin D.
- All tests are non-invasive, so there is no reason to panic! They are the same as routine blood and urine tests.
Step 3. Take a PTH (parathormone) test
After verifying that your calcium levels are above normal, your doctor should order the PTH test to analyze the function of the parathyroid glands. In it, a blood sample is collected and there should be no need for fasting or any preparation.
The parathyroid glands are tiny, located in the neck, and help regulate the levels of vitamins and minerals in the blood. About 90% of cases of chronic hypercalcemia are due to hyperparathyroidism (when these glands are overactive)
Step 4. Undertake imaging tests as recommended by your doctor
If the PTH level is high, the provider may prescribe other imaging tests to analyze whether there has been an enlargement of any of the four parathyroid glands. In addition, even if an abnormal count is not found - or it is low -, it is possible that he will indicate tests to detect some types of cancer, such as lung or breast cancer.
Hypercalcemia will rarely be associated with cancer, so try not to worry. You are likely to be able to control high calcium levels with medications, lifestyle changes, and routine checkups
Method 3 of 3: Controlling High Calcium With Medical Treatment
Step 1. Seek specialized care as soon as possible if you suffer from acute and intense symptoms
Hypercalcemia can damage the kidneys, heart and brain and is treated with intravenous fluids and diuretics (which increase the frequency of urination). Furthermore, dialysis will be necessary when the high amount of calcium causes kidney failure.
- Sudden, acute hypercalcemia can be due to an underlying medical condition or excessive use of calcium supplements or even antacids.
- Some of the possible symptoms are: vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, dizziness, lack of balance and confusion. These are manifestations that can be associated with several health disorders, so the ideal is to consult a doctor to obtain a correct diagnosis.
Step 2. See a doctor for routine checkups in less severe cases
For many patients, managing chronic hypercalcemia involves changing lifestyles while monitoring nutrient levels. When they are just slightly above normal and there are no symptoms, the doctor should recommend that only a blood count be taken.
Your doctor will tell you how often these tests should be performed. Generally, it will be in the range of three to six months
Step 3. Use prescription drugs to control the amount of calcium according to your doctor's instructions
When hypercalcemia is moderate or severe, short-term or long-term medication may be needed; the drug depends on the condition and symptoms of each patient. In this way, follow the specialist's instructions so as not to make a mistake in the dosage.
- To control calcium levels and prevent bone loss, your specialist may prescribe a calcitonin nasal spray, such as Seacalcit or Miacalcic. Apply daily to one nostril, alternating between the right and left nostrils with each use. Possible side effects are: nausea, runny nose and nosebleeds.
- When detecting high levels of PTH, the doctor will also prescribe a calcimimetic such as cinacalcet (Mimpara). It is more common for it to be given after meals, once a day and at the same time. Possible adverse effects are: stomach irritation, dizziness and weakness.
- When excess calcium is linked to cancer, a bisphosphonate may be prescribed. This medication is also available in tablet form or for intravenous use, given once a month. Nausea, heartburn and flu-like symptoms are the most common adverse effects.
Step 4. Change blood pressure medications or diuretics
Patients using thiazide diuretics or blood pressure drugs may have to use a drug outside the thiazide group. There are other medications, such as lithium, that also lead to hypercalcemia, so talk to your doctor and advise about the use of other over-the-counter medications or not.
never stop using a controlled medication without first talking to your doctor.
Step 5. Treat the most serious manifestations related to hyperparathyroidism
More often than not only one of the four parathyroid glands is affected, and surgery should not be invasive. Although it is necessary to stay in the hospital overnight, the medical discharge must take place the next day.
- It is normal to suffer from a sore throat for a few days and have to eat liquid and pasty foods. Most patients will need to use pain relievers for two to three days after surgery.
- Depending on the degree of complexity of the surgical intervention, the doctor will probably allow you to resume daily activities in less than a week.
- To be on the safe side, seek medical advice before using any over-the-counter supplement or medication, especially if you already have a health problem.
- Calcium is vital for the good health of teeth and bones, so it doesn't seem to consume foods that contain the nutrient in the constitution without first consulting a doctor.
- Anyone who uses tobacco should try to stop. Smoking can interfere with calcium absorption and cause many health problems.