Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)
What is a Calcitonin test?
Calcitonin is a particular kind of hormone that is produced by the Thyroid gland. Helping to control the level of calcium in your blood is the major role of this hormone. Calcitonin is an essential hormone and it also helps in nerve functioning and blood clotting when you are bleeding. A calcitonin test is mainly performed for the purpose of measuring the amount of calcitonin in your blood.
If the calcitonin level in your body is abnormally high or abnormally low, then it can be the reason for certain health conditions. For example, abnormally high levels of calcitonin in the body can be the reason for Medullary Thyroid cancer or C-cell hyperplasia. This is the reason why this test is extremely necessary because this test can be considered as the most effective way to keep monitoring the calcitonin levels in the body. Nowadays, the calcitonin test price is really affordable.
How is calcitonin produced?
The Thyroid gland is a butterfly shaped gland located at the front section of the neck that takes part in so many crucial functionalities of a human body. The thyroid gland is responsible for releasing calcitonin based on the amount of calcium that you are having in your blood. A high amount of calcitonin is released by the thyroid gland when the blood calcium levels increase, on the other hand, the thyroid gland releases a low amount of calcitonin when the blood calcium levels decrease.
What is the basic function of calcitonin?
Calcitonin effectively decreases the amount of calcium that our kidneys can reabsorb and releases the calcium back to the bloodstream, which causes a reduction in the blood calcium levels. Osteoclasts are known as cells that break down the bones and when the bones are broken down, the existing calcium gets released into the bloodstream. Calcitonin blocks the activities of osteoclasts and this is how the amount of calcium releasing in your bloodstream decreases.
What happens when the calcitonin levels are too high or too low?
High levels of calcitonin in the body indicates the presence of two rare health conditions, such as
- Medullary Thyroid cancer: This particular type of thyroid cancer takes place in the C-cells of the thyroid gland, which can make those cells release abnormally high amounts of calcitonin in the blood. Medullary Thyroid cancer may also spread to other tissues, mostly lymph nodes.
- C-cell hyperplasia: This particular condition causes abnormal growth of the C-cells of the thyroid gland and then those enlarged C-cells can start releasing excessive amounts of calcitonin in the bloodstream. Sometimes, C-cell hyperplasia may end up causing Medullary Thyroid cancer.
However, there are usually no chances of having any kind of negative effects in your body if you have too little amount of calcitonin.
What is calcium?
As calcitonin actively controls the levels of calcium in the body, it is necessary to know what exactly calcium is. Calcium is an essential mineral of the body and a greater percentage of the calcium is stored in the bones. Calcium plays an important role in some crucial functionalities of a human body, such as
- Calcium helps the nerves work properly.
- Calcium also helps the heart work properly,
- Calcium helps in blood clotting.
- Calcium also helps the muscles to squeeze together, which is necessary for body movement.
Why is a calcitonin test performed?
- This test is performed for the purpose of diagnosing the presence of C-cell hyperplasia as well as Medullary Thyroid cancer.
- This test is also performed to know about the treatment response of medullary thyroid cancer.
- Another reason behind performing this test is to check whether the medullary thyroid cancer has returned or not after the treatments are done.
- Apart from that, this test is also used for the purpose of screening people who are at a higher risk of facing medullary thyroid cancer.
Know the difference between Calcitonin and Calcitriol
Calcitriol is also known as active Vitamin D. Both Calcitonin and Calcitriol have a similarity - both of these are hormones that are known for affecting the calcium levels. Calcitriol helps to increase the calcium amount that your gut can absorb from the foods you consume. Calcitriol is also known for preventing our kidneys from facing a calcium loss. On the other hand, calcitonin blocks the bone calcium breakdown and prevents our kidneys from reabsorbing calciums and this is exactly how it helps in decreasing the calcium levels. To be specific, the main difference between these two is that calcitriol helps to increase the amount of calcium and calcitonin helps to decrease the calcium amount.
When to go for this test?
When the primary signs and symptoms of Medullary Thyroid cancer or C-cell hyperplasia starts to get visible in your body then the medical experts may suggest you to go for this test. Some of those most mentionable signs and symptoms may include
- Swollen lymph nodes in the neck
- Lump at the front part of the neck
- Unusual change in speaking voice
- Trouble in breathing
- Trouble in swallowing
- Long lasting cough
- Pain in the throat
10-12 hours of fasting is mandatory before you appear for this test. However, this is always a wise decision to have a brief consultation with your doctor or the pathologists to know if there are any more guidelines to be followed. Also, do not forget to inform the pathologists if you are already on any kind of medication before the test process starts.
A specific amount of blood will be fetched from your vein using a syringe by an experienced healthcare professional. The sample will be sent to the laboratory and the necessary tests will be performed on that collected sample. It doesn’t take too long to generate an error-free report of this test after the samples arrive at the laboratory.
Are there any risks associated with this test?
Just because this is a blood test, it’s natural to feel a bit of discomfort and a little pain or bruising at the exact area from where the blood has been fetched. Usually, these symptoms go away after a certain span of time and don't cause any other serious health condition. Fortunately, a calcitonin test cost is very much reasonable these days.
The test report will show the levels of calcitonin in your body. If it shows that you have normal calcitonin levels in your body, then probably you don’t have Medullary Thyroid cancer or C-cell hyperplasia in your body. However, it is necessary to know that even if the calcitonin levels are normal, you may still have the seed of these diseases in your body because sometimes C-cell hyperplasia as well as Medullary Thyroid cancer may not cause high levels of calcitonin in an individual’s body.
The normal range of calcitonin in those individuals who have been assigned as male at birth are 0-7.5 pg/mL and the normal range of calcitonin in those individuals who have been assigned as female at birth are 0-5.1 pg/mL. Getting your calcitonin test done is easier than ever as you can now easily find the facilities of calcitonin test near me.
What do different calcitonin levels indicate?
- If the calcitonin level of your body keeps increasing with time then it indicates that your cancer has either returned or has already started to spread in the other parts of the body.
- If the calcitonin level decreases but is still higher than the normal range then it indicates that you probably have some more cancer tissues left anywhere in your body.
- If the calcitonin level effectively decreases and continues staying low for so long then it indicates that the treatments are working.