What is Ca?
Calcium is a mineral found in the body responsible for many vital functions like maintaining bones strength, muscles, nerves function, and blood clotting. Abnormal levels of calcium can lead to several complications in the body like kidney disease, bone disease, multiple organs tumors.
Typical symptoms such as excess urination, excess thirst, abnormal heart rhythm, memory loss and bones pain can arise either due to hypercalcemia (excess of calcium) and hypocalcemia (lack of calcium).
An ongoing or past history of certain tumors, lungs disease or side effects of medications can make a person more vulnerable to suffer from abnormal calcium levels.
Why is Ca done?
- As a part of regular metabolic panel health checkups
- Upon the appearance of symptoms indicating excess or shortfall of calcium
- To check for diseases causing abnormalities in calcium level in blood like thyroid or parathyroid disorders, heart diseases, kidney diseases, neurological diseases, pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) and bone and teeth diseases
- At regular intervals to monitor treatment efficacy of calcium supplements or Vitamin D supplements
- To monitor critically ill patients
- To monitor the progress of the condition and the efficacy of treatment after the kidney transplant, and in certain types of cancer
- To monitor calcium levels during and after large-volume blood transfusions
What does Ca Measure?
Calcium (Ca) Test measures the levels of calcium in blood. Calcium is essential for body processes including cell signaling, blood clotting, contraction of muscles, and functioning of nerves. It plays a crucial role in the formation and maintenance of healthy bones. Deficiency of calcium results in Osteoporosis, a disease in which the bones lose their density and become soft and fragile, causing them to fracture very easily.
About 99% of the total amount of calcium received by the body is bound as calcium complex in bones, and the remaining 1% lies in blood circulation. Of the amount of calcium circulating in the blood, about half remains bound to albumin protein or other ions and are metabolically inactive, while the remaining half remains free and metabolically active. Blood Calcium tests can be of two types: Total Calcium Test used to measure the total calcium concentration in blood including both the free and bound forms, and Ionized Calcium Test used to measure the concentration of only the metabolically active form.
Calcium levels in the blood are maintained within a very narrow range by a number of mechanisms. Deviation from the normal range of calcium concentration causes Hypocalcemia (low levels of calcium), or Hypercalcemia (excess of calcium). Both these conditions impact normal body processes in the short term and may give rise to other conditions in the long term.
A blood calcium test cannot be used to check for a lack of calcium in your diet or for osteoporosis (loss of calcium from bones) as the body can have normal calcium levels even in case of dietary deficiency of Calcium. The body can augment mild calcium deficiency by releasing the calcium stored in bones.
Interpreting Ca results
Normal range: 8.5 to 10.5 mg/dL (2.2 to 2.7 mmol/L approx.)
Hypocalcemia: Below 8.5 mg/dL (Below 2.2 mmol/L approx.)
Hypercalcemia: Above 10.5 mg/dL (Above 2.7 mmol/L approx.)
Calcium concentration in the body is maintained within a narrow normal range between 8.5mg/dL and 10.5mg/dL.
Hypocalcemia or low blood calcium is indicated if calcium concentration lies below the normal range.
Hypercalcemia or high blood calcium is indicated if calcium concentration lies above the normal range.