Q:

What is the difference between hypercalcemia and hypocalcemia?

A:

Quick Answer

Hypercalcemia occurs when too much calcium enters the bloodstream, according to MedicineNet. Hypocalcemia occurs when the bloodstream contains extremely low levels of calcium, explains Healthline.

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Full Answer

Lung and breast cancer, kidney disorders and high levels of vitamin D can cause hypercalcemia, states MedicineNet. The symptoms of hypercalcemia include abdominal pain, kidney stones, frequent urination, dementia and bone aches. Patients may also experience multiple bone fractures or curving of the spine. Treatment options for mild hypercalcemia include prescription medications. For those with severe hypercalcemia, dialysis, steroids or intravenous medications help lower calcium levels in the bloodstream.

Vitamin D deficiency, cancer, kidney failure and pancreatitis can cause hypocalcemia, notes Healthline. The symptoms of hypocalcemia include seizures, dementia, eczema, the development of cataracts and muscle stiffness. To treat hypocalcemia, patients must eat a calcium-rich diet; take calcium, vitamin D or magnesium supplements; and spend up to 10 minutes per day in the sunlight without sunscreen to help the body absorb additional vitamin D.

Blood tests help physicians diagnose hypercalcemia and hypocalcemia. While hypercalcemia is not preventable, if detected early, the proper treatment can lower calcium levels, which can help prevent permanent damage to the body, explains MedicineNet. Most people can prevent hypocalcemia by eating a calcium-rich diet, which helps maintain healthy calcium levels, states Healthline.

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