Hypercalcemia is a disorder in which the level of calcium in the blood is too high.one of the most common causes is primary hyperparathyroidism. The condition can also be caused by medications, by excessive use of certain vitamin supplements and is also associated with certain cancers.
In mild cases, there may not be any symptoms. When symptoms are present, they can include:
* bone pain
* memory loss
* kidney stones
When hypercalcemia is due to hyperparathyroidism, treatment options can range from doing nothing in mild cases, to parathyroid surgery in severe cases.
Hypercalcemia can also occur in 10-20 percent of people with cancer. The main causes of hypercalcemia due to cancer are an increase in the amount of calcium absorbed from the bones (some cancer cells secrete substances that cause this to happen), and an inability of the kidneys to excrete excess calcium.
the cancers most often associated with hypercalcemia are cancer of the breast and lung , as well as certain cancers of the blood, particularly multiple myeloma. It may also occur in patients with head and neck cancer, cancer of unknown primary origin, lymphoma, leukemia, kidney cancer, and gastrointestinal cancer.
the most common symptoms of hypercalcemia associated with cancer are the same as for hypercalcemia caused by hyperparathyroidism, and can also include:
* problems thinking clearly
* lack of appetite
* frequent urination
* increased thirst
* nausea and vomiting
Hypercalcemia can be diagnosed by blood tests. The severity of the hypercalcemia and the underlying cause determine the amount of treatment necessary. When hypercalcemia is due to hyperparathyroidism, surgery may sometimes be needed to remove some or all of the parathyroid gland. Severe hypercalcemia should be treated immediately and aggressively, often with medications and rehydration. Less severe hypercalcemia may warrant less aggressive treatment.