Even a "mild" high calcium is a sign of an underlying problem. Over 99% of the time, high blood calcium is caused by a parathyroid tumor as shown in this animation. Many aspects if high blood calcium and hyperparathyroidism are discussed in this 5 minute video.
The high blood calcium will cause many other health issues from high blood pressure to heart problems, osteoporosis, kidney stones and kidney failure. Even several types of cancer such as breast and prostate are increased in patients with high blood calcium. How high the calcium has become is not important. Mild high calcium is just as bad as very high.
While the excess parathyroid hormone is causing many other health problems throughout the body, it almost always makes people feel miserable. Many symptoms from chronic fatigue to memory loss, bone pain and kidney stones are caused by high blood calcium. See our Symptom Page for more information.
High blood calcium is almost always caused by a tumor on one (or two) of the four parathyroid glands. The parathyroid gland tumor produces too much parathyroid hormone (PTH) which is secreted into the blood. This hormone causes cells within the bones to eat away at the bones (destroy the bones) releasing the calcium into the blood.
Watch this award-winning animation to see exactly how this happens and to understand that the excess calcium in the blood is bad... and it came from your bones!
High blood calcium is not rare! It affects 2% of women and 1 percent of men.
High blood calcium due to a parathyroid tumor in the neck affects 2 percent of women in their lifetime, and almost 1 percent of men. Unfortunately, most people with high blood calcium don't even know it is high, or they know it is high but their doctor told them it isn't high enough to worry about.
The High Blood Calcium Is Bad campaign was started because patients have no idea how important blood calcium is to good health, and most doctors think that high blood calcium is OK until it gets extremely high. High blood calcium (even very mildly high) is far more deadly than high cholesterol--your blood calcium levels is the most important number you should know.
What number is a high number? Young people (teenagers who are building bone) normally have higher calcium levels than adults over 30. Unfortunately, many labs do not report the normal ranges for calcium according to the patient's age. If your lab shows the upper limit of calcium to be 10.5 or higher, then they are showing the normal range for ALL humans, including teenagers. Almost all adults have calcium levels in the mid 9's (between 9.4 and 9.8 mg/dl). If you are over 30 and your blood calcium level is 10.2 or higher, then you have a very high liklihood of having a parathyroid tumor and primary hyperparathyroidism. REMEMBER: Adults should have calcium levels in the 9's. It really is that simple. Know your calcium level!