Hypocalcemia: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment for Calcium Deficiency

Hypocalcemia: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment for Calcium Deficiency

February 18, 2021 0
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One of the most important minerals in our body, especially in maintaining healthy bones and teeth is calcium. An optimum level of calcium in our body can help prevent many bone-related illnesses and keep the heart muscles healthy for a longer period of time. When the body is deprived of calcium, various disorders may develop, such as:

Calcium is a very important mineral that aids in the growth of children. Calcium deficiency can affect growth in height and bone density. Hence, it is important for adults, the elderly, and pregnant women to consume an appropriate amount of calcium through their diet.

Symptoms of Calcium Deficiency

Calcium deficiency is commonly observed in newborns, it is not something to worry about as babies contain high phosphate levels that result in reduced calcium levels. They usually gain calcium during breastfeeding. 

Symptoms of hypocalcemia include:

  • Jitters
  • Irritability
  • Tremors
  • Muscle twitching
  • Seizures
  • Lethargy
  • Whites spots on nails

With severe hypocalcemia, the following symptoms can occur:

  • Muscle spasm
  • Memory loss
  • Confusion
  • Depression
  • Tingling in the feet, hands, or face
  • Easy fracturing
  • Muscle cramps
  • Hallucinations

Symptoms of calcium deficiency are non-lethal and negligible in mild to moderate cases so the diagnosis can be late or misdiagnosed.

Causes of Calcium Deficiency

There is an array of factors that lead to calcium deficiency in children and adults. Here are some such factors:

  • The risk of calcium deficiency increases with age
  • Unbalanced diet in children and adults
  • Medications that can lead to low calcium
  • Hormonal imbalance or changes in women
  • Intolerance towards calcium-rich foods like dairy
  • Various genetic factors

Diagnosis for Hypocalcemia

If you are exhibiting symptoms and the doctor suspects it might be calcium deficiency, the doctor will first check your medical history to rule out any genetic condition that can lead to hypocalcemia. Then the doctor will evaluate the calcium deficiency in your family members too.  A blood test would follow this to understand the calcium levels in the body.

After the blood test, the healthcare professional may check three things:

  • Ionized level of calcium
  • Total calcium amount or level
  • Albumin levels, which is a protein to carry calcium

These three levels give clarity on the severity of calcium deficiency. Sometimes, you may be offered supplements to treat the condition, and many people can recover through food calcium sources.

Some of the serious symptoms for which you should consult a doctor immediately are-

  • Nausea or vomiting sensation
  • Severe constipation
  • Sleepiness or confusion
  • Vomiting multiple times in one day
  • Enhanced urination
  • Muscle twitching
  • Diarrhoea

Treatment Options

You can easily treat calcium deficiency by adding the appropriate amount of calcium to your diet. However, avoid taking medication or supplements without consulting a doctor. You need approval and recommendation from a medical professional to consume the correct dosage.

You can consume calcium supplements in chewable, liquid, and tablet forms. You can seek counsel from your doctor for what suits you best.

Foods to Consume

In mild or moderate calcium deficiency cases, you can use food calcium sources to increase levels in the body. With dairy products alone, you can increase calcium levels to up to 1,000-1,200 mg.

While dairy products are the most common, you can consume calcium in various ways:

  • Oily fish, like tuna or salmon
  • Leafy greens, like kale
  • Fortified milk
  • Eggs
  • Orange juice
  • Portobello mushrooms

Another great method is receiving vitamin D from sunlight. Vitamin D is known to improve the calcium absorption rate of the body. This is the reason why it is able to help in hypocalcemia.

Lifestyle Changes

You can additionally make some lifestyle changes to improve calcium absorption and vitamin D levels in your body. These changes indirectly help you promote complete health of the body, including bone health.

  • If you are obese, then try reducing weight
  • Regularly exercise in the morning where you are exposed to sunlight
  • Reduce your intake of alcohol or tobacco
  • Reduce consumption of unhealthy and unprocessed foods

Do you want to get checked for calcium deficiency?

If so, then consider Regency Health for super speciality medical care. Regency has a multidisciplinary team made up of endocrinologists, dieticians, and physicians who can help you out. Check the website here for more details.


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