Medical Surgical Labs Electrolytes Top Tested #4

Question

The client with a calcium level of 8.3 mEq/L will be at risk for which of these?

Answers

  1. Osteoporosis
    • Rationale:

      This answer is not correct because osteoporosis is a sign of hypercalcemia. Calcium levels above 10.5 mEq/L results in bones releasing calcium into the blood and causing the bones to thin. This is called osteoporosis.

  2. Nephrolithiasis
    • Rationale:

      This answer is not correct because nephrolithiasis is caused by high calcium levels. Too much calcium buildup in the blood creates kidney stones.

  3. Constipation
    • Rationale:

      This answer is not correct because the calcium level is too low. Excess calcium causes constipation due to the dehydration associated with hypercalcemia.

  4. Tetany
    • Rationale:

      This answer is correct because low calcium causes tetany. Tetany is cramps or spasms of the muscles in the hands and feet. Calcium plays a role in muscle relaxation and contraction. Hypocalcemia interrupts muscle relaxation because there is not enough calcium in the muscle cells.

Overview

A calcium level below 9 mEq/L is called hypocalcemia. The client with hypocalcemia is at risk for tetany, paresthesias, confusion, and depression.

Explanation

Learning Outcomes

Calcium levels should be between 9 and 10.5 mEq/L. Levels below 9 place the client at risk for tetany, paresthesias, confusion, and depression. Calcium plays a role in muscle relaxation and contraction. Hypocalcemia interrupts muscle relaxation because there is not enough calcium in the muscle cells, thus resulting in tetany. Tetany is cramps or spasms of the muscles in the hands and feet. Calcium levels above 10.5 mEq/L results in bones releasing calcium into the blood. This leads to osteoporosis and kidney stones.

Test Taking Tip

Remember that high calcium leads to “stones, moans, and groans”

Video Rationale