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Calcium, a very important mineral in human metabolism which consists of 1-2% of an adult human’s body weight. Besides, its role in bone structure, Calcium is used to help control muscle and nerve function. It is also very essential to manage acid/base balance in our blood stream. Excess calcium can deposit in places where it doesn’t necessary, including blood vessels and the kidneys (in the form of kidney stones).
Calcium is provided by a wide variety of foods. Apart from dietary foods, green leafy vegetables like spinach, collard greens, mustard greens, turnip greens, and kale are also contains rich calcium. Many fish and shellfish—including scallops and sardines—also provide concentrated amounts of calcium. A very helpful non-dairy food for boosting your calcium intake is tofu(Soya) .
A blood calcium test is advised to screen for, diagnose, and monitor a range of conditions relating to the bones, heart, nerves, kidneys, and teeth. The test may also be advised if a person has symptoms of parathyroid disorder, malabsorption or an overactive thyroid.
A total calcium level is often measured as part of a routine health screening. It is included in thecomprehensive metabolic panel (CMP) and the basic metabolic panel (BMP), groups of tests that are performed together to diagnose or monitor a variety of conditions.
Calcium test can be used for
Kidney stones or Bone Disease.
Symptoms of high calcium such as fatigue, weakness, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, constipation, abdominal pain, urinary frequency, and increased thirst
Symptoms of very low calcium such as abdominal cramps, muscle cramps, or tingling finger.
Calcium monitoring may be necessary when a person has certain kinds of cancer (breast, lung, head, neck, kidney or multiple myeloma) has kidney disease, or has had a kidney transplant.
Monitoring may also be necessary when someone is being treated for abnormal calcium levels to evaluate the effectiveness of treatments such as calcium or vitamin D supplements.
Role in Health Support.
At any given time, about 99% of our total body calcium stores are found in bones and teeth. This calcium plays a critical role in maintaining structural integrity of our skeleton. While calcium is the most critical nutrient to skeletal health, other nutrients provide important support to help absorb and use calcium in the bones. These nutrients include vitamin D, vitamin K, and magnesium.
Calcium is an absolutely critical nutrient in regulating acid/alkaline balance (called pH) in the blood. When blood pH starts getting low (down to 7.35 from a baseline of 7.4), calcium starts getting released from the bones to bring acid/base balance back into balance. A complex set of hormonal interactions manages this process, and it is tightly regulated. The pH of blood is of critical importance to sustain life, and controls processes as varied as breathing rate and the ability to transport oxygen in blood cells.
Muscle and Nerve Function
When a muscle cell receives a signal from nerves telling it to fire that cell responds by allowing a flood of calcium into the cell. This abrupt change leads to a cascade of activity and has the effect of making the muscle cell contract. If calcium levels are abnormal, either too high or too low, this process can be interrupted, which will lead to muscle spasm.
Regulation of the balance of calcium inside and outside of nerve cells is involved in helping to control the flow of sodium in and out. This sodium flow is how the nerves conduct signals to and from the brain. Like the muscles, abnormal calcium concentrations in the blood stream may adversely affect the ability of the nerves to transmit signals.