Pediatric Hypercalcemia

Pediatric Hypercalcemia

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Summary

Hypercalcemia occurs when calcium levels in a child’s blood are too high.

Expanded overview

Hypercalcemia is a condition caused by having too much calcium in the blood. Normally, your child’s parathyroid gland produces a hormone that helps regulate the amount of calcium in the blood. Vitamin D, which your child gets from eating certain foods and from sunlight, also helps with this process.

When the parathyroid does not release the correct amount of hormone, or if your child suffers from a vitamin D deficiency, they may end up with too much calcium in the blood.

Causes

The most common cause of hypercalcemia is when one or all of the parathyroid glands in the neck become enlarged. That’s because when the parathyroid glands become enlarged, they release more of the parathyroid hormone than is needed to regulate the calcium in the blood and calcium levels may rise.

Other causes of hypercalcemia include:

  • Certain cancers, including Ewing sarcoma, lymphoma and neuroblastoma
  • Certain medications, such as lithium
  • Eating too much calcium (over 2,000 milligrams a day)
  • Extensive bed rest
  • Familial hypocalciuric hypercalcemia (an inherited condition that causes abnormally high levels of calcium in the blood)
  • Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid)
  • Kidney failure 
  • Paget’s disease (a condition that affects the breakdown and formation of the bones)
  • Taking too much vitamin D (talk to your doctor about what’s a safe amount for your child)

Symptoms

Symptoms of hypercalcemia may include:

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