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Hypercalcemia
(Elevated Calcium Levels)

Hypercalcemia Overview

One of the minerals that is important in the regulation and processes of many body functions including bone formation, hormone release, muscle contraction, and nerve and brain function is calcium. If levels of calcium in the body are elevated above what is considered normal, this is referred to as hypercalcemia.

Calcium levels in the body are tightly regulated. The regulation of calcium is primarily controlled by vitamin D, calcitonin, and parathyroid hormone (PTH).

  • Calcitonin is produced in specialized cells in thethyroid gland.
  • Vitamin D is obtained through a process that begins with sun exposure to the skin. The process then continues in the liver and kidneys. Vitamin D can also be found in foods, such as eggs and dairy products.
  • Parathyroid hormone is a hormone produced by the parathyroid glands, which are four small glands surrounded by the thyroid and found in the anterior part of the lower neck.

Together, the parathyroid hormone, calcitonin, and vitamin D regulate calcium levels in the bloodstream via the kidneys, and the intestinal tract.

Picture of the thyroid and parathyroid glands
Picture of the thyroid and parathyroid glands
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/4/2014
Medical Editor:

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