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I know that you can suffer from having insufficient calcium in your body, but can you overdo it? What would be the symptoms, and what would be too much? Thanks.
Question Date: 2004-04-11
Answer 1:

If you're just worried about eating too many dairy products, relax. Your body has a very good system for regulating your calcium levels. The parathyroid glands, which are in your neck, produce hormones that help maintain the balance. Extra calcium may become part of your bones or you may excrete it in your urine.

Your body needs calcium for building bones and teeth, but calcium is also very important in regulating many body functions. It is critical in muscle contraction, including heart contractions.

If you have more calcium than your body can deal with, that's a condition called "hypercalcemia." The "hyper" means "too high" and "calcemia" means "calcium level." People usually only have this if their parathyroid glands are abnormal or if other tissues start making the parathyroid glands' hormones. Eating too much yogurt won't cause it, but sometimes people who take too much vitamin D (which is important in calcium absorption) or too many antacids that contain calcium can get this. I suppose that taking more calcium supplements than are recommended would also cause it.

The symptoms for hypercalcemia can start off as digestive tract pain and problems. Small, hard deposits called "kidney stones" can form. These will cause a person to urinate a lot more often than they normally do. Then a person's blood pressure would increase and their heartbeat would become abnormal. Their muscles would get weaker and weaker. Eventually, they might be confused, slip into a coma, and even die. However, a person would not usually get the disease this badly unless they had untreatable cancer or parathyroid gland problems.

What kind of problems do you think a person would have if their calcium levels were too low? What would that be called?

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