Calcium plays important roles in bone and teeth health, muscle contraction, the release of hormones and proper nerve and brain functioning. Although calcium is important for proper body functioning, too much calcium in the blood, a condition referred to as hypercalcemia, can cause a variety of negative health effects. There are several different treatment options for hypercalcemia.
One of the first steps in treating hypercalcemia is the administration of intravenous fluids. Intravenous fluids can serve two purposes. They can help to balance out the electrolyte and salt levels in the body as well as prevent the body from becoming dehydrated.
Hypercalcemia can also be corrected with the administration of a variety of different medications and synthetic hormones. Diuretics may be used to help flush out excess calcium from the bloodstream and ensure that the excess calcium does not cause damage to the kidneys, according to MayoClinic.com. Intravenous biophosphates are another class of medication that can be used to stop the release of calcium from the bone and the resulting bone breakdown that may occur. A synthetic version of the hormone calcitonin may also be administered. Calcitonin also stops the breakdown of bone and the subsequent release of calcium into the bloodstream.
Most cases of hypercalcemia occur as a result of an underlying condition called primary hyperparathyroidism. Primary hyperparathyroidism is characterized by the excess release of parathyroid hormones from the parathyroid gland. Parathyroid hormones trigger the release of calcium from the bones and increase the levels of calcium in the blood. When hypercalcemia is caused by hyperparathyroidism, surgery may be required to remove the abnormal parathyroid glands. This procedure is called a parathyroidectomy.
If the kidneys are damaged or you do not respond well to other forms of treatment, hemodialysis may be used to treat hypercalcemia. Hemodialysis involves the use of a machine to filter the blood and remove excess wastes, electrolytes and fluid. During hemodialysis, you are hooked up to a machine that forces blood to leave the body and travel into a tube that allows the cleansing of the blood. Once the blood has been properly cleaned outside of the body, another tube allows the cleaned blood to flow back into the body.