Calcium is important for bones, muscles, and teeth. It is also vital for many critical functions of the body, including muscle contraction, blood clotting, and heart function. A calcium test is performed to measure the levels of calcium in the blood.
Why is the test performed?
A calcium blood test helps in screening, diagnosing and monitoring several conditions associated with heart, kidneys, bones, and nerves.
When is the test ordered?
A physician may prescribe this test to individuals who show signs and symptoms of chronic kidney disease, bone disease, malabsorption, parathyroid disorder and chronic liver disease and who are on bed rest for a long time. A calcium test may be ordered to determine whether the symptoms such as muscle spasms, muscle cramps and tingling in the fingers may be due to low calcium levels or the symptoms such as loss of appetite, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, weakness, bone pain and excess urination may be due to high calcium levels.
How is the sample collected?
A blood sample is collected from the vein in the arm of the individual using a needle.
What affects the test results?
Consuming high levels of calcium through dietary supplements, taking excess vitamin D supplements and certain medicines like thiazide diuretics, thyroxine, calcium salts and nutritional supplements enriched with calcium and vitamin D can affect the test results.
Physicians may thus ask patients to stop taking such medicines temporarily.