Hypercalcemia: Care Instructions

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Your Care Instructions

Hypercalcemia is too much calcium in the blood. You need calcium to have strong bones. It also helps your muscles, heart, and nerves work as they should. But too much is dangerous.

Several problems can cause too much calcium in the blood. It can happen because of medicines or certain health problems. Some diseases can make your intestines take in too much calcium. And some can take calcium from your bones. A non-cancerous tumour can grow in the glands that control calcium levels. And some cancers can cause high calcium levels.

These high levels may make you lose fluids (become dehydrated). You may get confused and very tired. Some people also have nausea, vomiting, and constipation. Your doctor will treat you based on how serious the problem is and what is causing it. Since too much calcium can be dangerous, it is important to treat it. You may get fluids to stop dehydration. You also may get medicine to help your body get rid of calcium through your urine or put it back into your bones. If a tumour is the cause, you may need surgery.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • Take your medicines exactly as prescribed. Call your doctor or nurse call line if you think you are having a problem with your medicine.
  • Make sure your doctor knows about all the medicines (including over-the-counter or herbal products) you are taking. If a medicine is causing your high calcium levels, your doctor will have you stop taking it.
  • Drink plenty of fluids, enough so that your urine is light yellow or clear like water. If you have kidney, heart, or liver disease and have to limit fluids, talk with your doctor before you increase the amount of fluids you drink.
  • Get at least 2½ hours of exercise a week. Walking is a good choice. You also may want to do other activities, such as running, swimming, cycling, or playing tennis or team sports. Exercise helps the calcium go back into your bones.
  • Do not reduce how much calcium you eat.
  • Let your doctor know if you take vitamins or other natural health products that have calcium or vitamin D.

When should you call for help?

Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • You passed out (lost consciousness).
  • You are confused, do not know where you are, or are extremely sleepy or hard to wake up.

Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You get weaker and more tired, even after treatment.
  • You start vomiting, or your vomiting gets worse.
  • You are very constipated.
  • You have severe pain in your belly, back, or side.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:

  • You do not get better as expected.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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Current as of: July 26, 2016