Normal Calcium Levels in Blood Tests

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Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the human body, and it is essential for the proper function of virtually every cell. Since the body loses calcium every day, it should be included in the diet. Dietary calcium can come from some fruits and vegetables, dairy products, eggs and fish. A blood (serum) calcium test actually measures the calcium that is not in bones.

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Function

In addition to helping to build bones and teeth, calcium is essential for muscle contraction, heart function, nerve function and blood clotting.

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Types

Calcium circulates in the blood in two forms: it can either be bound to such transport proteins as albumin or be found in free, "ionized" form.

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Scientists in lab (Image: Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Normal Calcium Levels in Adults

While normal blood calcium levels differ slightly from lab to lab, they usually range between 8.5 and 10.5 mg/dL (milligrams of calcium per deciliter of blood). Ionized calcium typically ranges from about 4.6 to 5.3 mg/dL

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Woman drinking orange juice (Image: Jupiterimages/Pixland/Getty Images)

Normal Calcium Levels in Children

Because they are growing, children can have slightly lower or higher blood calcium than adults, with normal levels ranging from 7.6 to 10.8 mg/dL

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Reasons for High Values

High blood calcium (hypercalcemia) can occur for such reasons as: dehydration, an overactive parathyroid gland (hyperparathyroidism), certain cancers, getting too much calcium or vitamins A and D from the diet, abusing calcium medicines and certain diseases.

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Woman talking with doctor (Image: Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images)

Reasons for Low Values

Low blood calcium (or hypocalcemia) can have various causes, including: bone problems, low levels of the blood protein albumin, inflammation of the pancreas, kidney disease, malfunction of the parathyroid gland (hypoparathyroidism) and improper absorption of foods or calcium.

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Man talking with doctor (Image: Jupiterimages/Creatas/Getty Images)

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