Calcium has a reputation for being good for you, so it may come as a surprise to find there is absolutely such thing as too much calcium! And just like too little calcium, too much calcium isn’t healthy. There’s even a medical name for the condition of having too much calcium: Hypercalcemia. This issue can adversely affect your hormones and your body in general, which is why it’s a good idea to know the symptoms to expect when you have hypercalcemia—along with the treatment options available to you. Here’s the skinny on the symptoms of hypercalcemia and how to avoid it.
You can get additional information on this condition by reading Are You Taking Too Much Calcium?
Common Symptoms of Hypercalcemia
It’s easy to not notice the symptoms of hypercalcemia, because they are actually fairly common. However, be on the lookout for these common symptoms of hypercalcemia:
- Muscle pain
- Stomach pain
- Appetite loss
- Increased thirst
- Frequent urination
More severe symptoms of hypercalcemia may include kidney stones, irregular heartbeat, a heart attack, and even a coma. If you have any of these symptoms, you should see your doctor immediately.
Treatment Options for Hypercalcemia
The right treatment for hypercalcemia depends on several factors. For example, once your doctor diagnoses the issue, he or she might try to treat the underlying cause.
Your doctor will also consider whether the amount of calcium in your body is dangerous. If it is, and if your symptoms of hypercalcemia are severe, you might need to be hospitalized to lower your calcium level, get hydrated, and receive certain medications if necessary.
Allowing hypercalcemia to continue unchecked can make your bones weaker, negatively affect your brain and heart, and cause kidney stones. Obviously it’s not a good idea to ignore hypercalcemia, especially when you have severe symptoms.
You can learn a few more facts about this condition by reading Hypercalcemia
Causes of Hypercalcemia
Considering how many people have calcium deficiencies, especially at midlife, it can be surprising to hear that other people have too much calcium. So how does this happen? One issue that can lead to hypercalcemia is overactive parathyroid glands. This typically means at least one of the four parathyroid glands in your neck has a small benign tumor on it.
Cancer—especially cancer of the blood, lungs, or breast—can also lead to hypercalcemia. Other causes of this condition include sarcoidosis, tuberculosis, and extreme dehydration. Even being immobile for too long can lead to hypercalcemia, because bones that are not used to handling your weight can leak calcium into your system.
Finally, you can end up with hypercalcemia by taking too many calcium or vitamin D supplements, so be sure to stick with only the recommended dietary allowance (RDA). The RDA for men who are 19 to 70 years old is 1,000 mg of calcium per day, and for men who are 71 or older, it’s 1,200 mg. For women between 19 and 50 years old, the RDA is 1,000 mg of calcium per day, and 1,200 mg for women ages 51 and up. Note that the daily upper limit
for most people is about 2,000 to 2,500 mg depending on your age, so it’s very important not to take more calcium than your doctor indicates you need.
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Wondering if you’re taking in too much calcium—or not enough? Check out: Think You’re Getting Enough Calcium? Think Again
More resources on calcium levels:
Do You Have a Calcium Deficiency? Here’s How to Find Out
Calcium C and Vitamin D: What Does Recommended Dietary Allowance Mean?