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Hypercalcemia: Care Instructions

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 advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) 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 advice 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 natural health 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. 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 moderate to vigorous 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 your doctor or nurse advice line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You are confused or have trouble thinking clearly.

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

  • You are feeling so tired or weak that you cannot do your usual activities.
  • You do not get better as expected.

Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.