When you visit the doctor’s office, you are often asked to give blood. Lab tests are performed on your blood to help determine your health status.
A Complete Metabolic Panel1 is one of the most frequently ordered lab tests. The CMP is a panel of 14 blood tests which serves as an initial comprehensive medical screening tool. The CMP provides information on liver function, diabetic status, and parathyroid status. Electrolyte and fluid balance information are also provided.
MedlinePlus states that Electrolytes are minerals in your body that have an electric charge. They are in your blood, urine and body fluids. Maintaining the right balance of electrolytes helps your body’s blood chemistry, muscle action and other processes. Sodium, potassium, chlorine, calcium, phosphate, and magnesium are all electrolytes.
You have more calcium2 in your body than any other mineral. Calcium has many important jobs. The body stores more than 99 percent of its calcium in the bones and teeth to help make and keep them strong. Your body needs calcium to help muscles and blood vessels contract and expand, to secrete hormones and enzymes and to send messages through the nervous system.
Jay Harold will focus on your calcium level, which is one of your electrolytes tested when your doctor orders a Complete Metabolic Panel (CMP). The calcium test can indicate or monitor bone diseases or diseases of the parathyroid gland or kidneys.
The normal range of calcium is from 8.5 to 10.2 mg/dL3. mEq/L (Note: mEq/L = milliequivalent per liter). It is used to detect concentrations that are too high (hypercalcemia) or too low (hypocalcemia).
Primary hyperparathyroidism is the most common cause of hypercalcemia4. It is due to excess parathyroid hormone (PTH) release by the parathyroid glands. This excess occurs due to an enlargement of one or more of the parathyroid glands, or growth on one of the glands. (Most of the time, these growths are not cancerous).
Hypercalcemia affects fewer than 1 in 100 people. The condition is most often diagnosed at an early stage, so most patients have no symptoms.
Treatment is aimed at the cause of hypercalcemia whenever possible. People with primary hyperparathyroidism (PHPT) may need surgery to remove the abnormal parathyroid gland. This will cure the hypercalcemia.
Hypoparathyroidism5 is a common cause of hypocalcemia. Calcium is tightly regulated by the parathyroid hormone6. In response to low calcium levels, PTH induces the kidneys to reabsorb calcium, the kidneys to increase production of calcitriol (the active form of vitamin D) thereby increasing intestinal absorption of calcium, and the bones to release calcium. These actions lead to a re-balance in the blood calcium levels. However, in the setting of absent, decreased, or ineffective PTH hormone, the body loses this regulatory function, and hypocalcemia ensues.
Today’s complex world of medical information can be overwhelming. This fact should not keep you from obtaining the information you need to live a healthy life.