Calcium and glucose participate in many of the most important chemical processes in the body. Calcium provides structure for bones and teeth, participates in hormone secretion and muscle contraction, and optimizes the activities of protein and enzymes. Glucose, a simple sugar, provides the main source of energy for the body. When blood work reveals high levels of calcium and glucose, doctors must find the cause and restore levels of these substances to their normal ranges.
The basic metabolic panel blood test helps doctors determine if high levels of calcium or glucose exist in the blood. This test also checks the levels of potassium, sodium, chloride, bicarbonate, creatinine and blood urea nitrogen (BUN). Some doctors order the calcium and glucose tests separately to reduce costs and avoid unnecessary testing.
University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas reports that normal calcium levels range from 8.9 to 10.4 mg/dL (milligrams per deciliter). Normal glucose levels depend on how recently a person has eaten. Normal fasting blood glucose levels range from 60 to 109 mg/dL, according to Rush University Medical Center. Normal nonfasting blood glucose levels range from 60 to 200 mg/dL.
Because calcium and glucose play such important roles in the body, high levels of these substances in the blood present significant challenges. High calcium levels cause bone pain, nausea, vomiting, constipation, weight loss, abdominal pain, confusion, lethargy, muscle weakness, hypertension, abnormal heart rhythm and calcification of the blood vessels. High levels of calcium also increase the risk for kidney stones, dehydration and osteoporosis, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians.
Symptoms of high blood glucose levels include frequent urination, excessive thirst, unexplained weight loss and fatigue. The risks of high blood sugar include kidney damage, damage to the blood vessels in the eyes, nerve damage, diabetic coma and death.
Causes of high calcium include Addison’s disease, high levels of vitamin D, HIV/AIDS, metastatic bone tumors, multiple myeloma, hyperthyroidism, Paget’s disease, hyperparathyroidism and sarcoidosis. Drugs such as thyroxine, lithium, calcium salts and thiazide diuretics may increase blood calcium levels. Causes of high glucose include diabetes, hyperthyroidism, pancreatitis, adrenal tumor, pancreatic cancer and inflammation of the pancreas.
Doctors treat high levels of calcium with normal saline solution, diuretic pills and other drugs that promote the excretion of excess calcium in the urine. Surgery resolves the symptoms of high calcium levels in cases caused by hyperparathyroidism and tumors.
Diet and exercise play an important role in managing high blood glucose levels. The Mayo Clinic reports that eating roughly the same amount of food at the same time each day helps control blood sugar levels. Since carbohydrates have a great effect on blood sugar levels, eating the same amount of carbohydrates at each snack or meal helps prevent sharp increases in blood sugar. Exercise burns excess calories that can contribute to high blood glucose levels. Before starting an exercise program, discuss your blood sugar target with your doctor and work together to develop a sensible regimen. In cases where diet and exercise do not control blood sugar levels, doctors prescribe insulin. Insulin helps control blood sugar levels by helping the body use glucose for energy.