Hypercalcemia (high calcium levels)

content provided by mayoclinic.com

Hypercalcemia (high calcium levels)


What is hypercalcemia? What causes it?

No name
No state given


Hypercalcemia is a higher than normal level of calcium in the blood. The most common cause is an overactive parathyroid gland (hyperparathyroidism). The parathyroid glands, which are located below the thyroid gland, regulate calcium in your body.

Other causes of hypercalcemia include:

  • Certain medications, such as lithium or thiazide diuretics
  • Certain cancers, including breast, lung and certain blood cancers
  • Sarcoidosis, an inflammatory disorder
  • Excessive intake of calcium or vitamin D supplements
  • Familial hypocalciuric hypercalcemia, a genetic disorder
  • Dialysis for chronic kidney failure
  • Adrenal gland failure
  • Overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism)

Severe hypercalcemia may cause:

  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Excessive thirst
  • Constipation
  • Abdominal pain
  • Muscle weakness
  • Confusion
  • Lethargy and fatigue

A doctor may make a diagnosis of hypercalcemia by a blood test. Treatment is directed at the underlying cause. Severe hypercalcemia may require hospitalization to reduce calcium to safe levels. In such cases, treatment may include:

  • Intravenous fluids
  • Diuretics
  • Bisphosphonates
  • Glucocorticoids (corticosteroids)

If untreated, hypercalcemia can lead to:

  • Kidney stones
  • Osteoporosis
  • Abnormal heart rhythm (arrhythmia)
  • Kidney failure

Last Updated: 03/23/2006
© 1998-2016 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER). All rights reserved. A single copy of these materials may be reprinted for noncommercial personal use only. "Mayo," "Mayo Clinic," "MayoClinic.com," "Mayo Clinic Health Information," "Reliable information for a healthier life" and the triple-shield Mayo logo are trademarks of Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research.

Terms and conditions of use


Bookmark and Share   E-Mail Page   Printer Friendly Version