Hypercalcemia - Describe Your Experience

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Hypercalcemia Introduction

Calcium is a mineral that is important in the regulation and processes of many body functions including bone formation, hormone release, muscle contraction, and nerve and brain function. Hypercalcemia is the term that refers to elevated levels of calcium in the bloodstream.

Regulation of Calcium

Calcium levels are tightly regulated in the body. Calcium regulation is primarily controlled by parathyroid hormone (PTH), vitamin D, and calcitonin.

  • Parathyroid hormone is a hormone produced by the parathyroid glands, which are four small glands that surround the thyroid and are found in the anterior part of the lower neck.
  • Vitamin D is obtained through a process that begins with sun exposure to the skin, the process then continues in the liver and kidneys. Vitamin D can also be found in foods such as eggs and dairy products.
  • Calcitonin is produced in specialized cells in the thyroid gland.

Together, these three hormones act on the bones, the kidneys, and the GI tract to regulate calcium levels in the bloodstream.

Picture of the Parathyroid Glands
Picture of the Parathyroid Glands
Return to Hypercalcemia (Elevated Calcium Levels)

See what others are saying

Comment from: Flower, 0-2 Male (Caregiver) Published: October 07

It was my son who was diagnosed with hypercalcemia when he was only 2 months old. He had no underlying health problems and this only came to light when he had a fit at home and couldn't breath and was shaking. By the time an ambulance came, he had gone as white as a sheet, very limp and had a vacant expression. The ambulance crew thought it was probably just a temperature convulsion but he was rushed to hospital where test after test was carried out over the course of a week. He had an ECG, an EEG, an ultrasound on his head and heart and had countless blood and urine tests. The only thing that kept coming back as abnormal was his high calcium levels which was causing him to have 5+ of these 'episodes' as the doctors called them, a day. To try and help with the level of calcium, which was only in his blood and not his urine, he was put on a drip for 24 hours to try and dilute it. It didn't work, so it had to try and be controlled other ways. My son was put on a special formula called locasol and he wasn't allowed any high calcium foods when we started weaning. Both myself and his dad were tested to see if we had passed on the condition, but those results came back negative, so we were told our son had Familial Benign Hypercalcuric Hypercalcemia. The 'episodes' lasted until he was 6 months old with as many as 7 of them a week. With hypercalcemia in children there is usually developmental problems, but thankfully my son was walking when he was 9 months old and has developed brilliantly, which really surprised the consultants. Although his calcium levels are still high he was officially discharged from hospital when he was one and was gradually introduced to a normal diet, and the only sypmtom he seems to have now are bone aches which I am trying to find out more about. He is nearly 2 now and you would never know, just looking at him, what he has been through or that he even has this condition.

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Comment from: JFaulk, 55-64 Female (Caregiver) Published: March 27

My sister has had a recurrence of her ovarian cancer and it has metastasized. One of the effects is malignant hypercalcemia which has a poor prognosis (months, if not weeks). She is extremely disoriented much of the time, has fallen several times (we are now arranging for palliative care after finding her on the floor of her apartment) and frequent episodes of tremors and mild seizures. She is not in pain, but her waking and dreaming state are so confused that they are almost simultaneous. She drinks six liters of water a day, but her skin is like sandpaper. And she sleeps almost 75% of the time - we are hoping that she will die in her sleep without pain - the only treatment she is able to receive is saline IVs which help control the tremors and some of the disorientation.

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