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J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1996 Jun;81(6):2149-53.

Serum calcium and survival in a large health screening program.

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Department of Surgery, Malmo University Hospital, Lund University, Sweden.


There is evidence that hyperparathyroidism is associated with increased morbidity and mortality. It is not known, however, whether elevated serum calcium (S-Ca) by itself is associated with those risks. We, therefore, examined mortality rate in relation to a single S-Ca value obtained at screening of a large population (n = 33,346) during a mean follow-up period of 10.8 yr. A survival analysis was performed, comparing groups with S-Ca values above different defined limits with those below these limits, adjusting for age and date of screening. We found that men less than 50 yr of age at screening (n = 21,131) with S-Ca greater than 2.45 mmol/L exhibited a 20% increased mortality rate compared with those with lower S-Ca values (odds ratio = 1.2; P < 0.005), whereas those with S-Ca greater than 2.60 mmol/L had a doubled rate (odds ratio = 2.0; P < 0.0002). Men less than 50 yr of age with S-Ca levels between 2.51-2.55 mmol/L exhibited a 50% increased risk of death from all causes compared with those with S-Ca between 2.31-2.45 (P < 0.0001). The excess mortality in those with S-Ca above 2.5 mmol/L was largely attributable to cardiovascular diseases (58%), although a significant excess mortality was also evident for malignant disorders (28%). In contrast, the risk of obtaining a diagnosis of malignant disease was not found to increase with rising S-Ca levels. These results indicate that the risk of premature death in men less than 50 yr of age increases with rising S-Ca, even within the normal range, and this increase may be largely due to cardiovascular diseases.

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