In our body, one of the most important minerals is calcium. Our strong teeth and bones are a product of calcium consumed daily. You will need this mineral for healthy muscles and a properly functioning heart. When the body is deprived of enough amount of calcium, various disorders may develop, such as:
- Calcium deficiency or hypocalcemia
Especially in children, calcium is extremely important. Calcium deficiency can reduce the ability to grow in height. Hence, every individual, including children, adults, elderly, and pregnant women, should consume an appropriate amount of calcium through food or supplements.
Symptoms of Calcium Deficiency
Calcium deficiency is common in new-borns, as the baby formulas contain high phosphate levels, which might lower calcium levels in the body.
Symptoms of hypocalcemia include:
- Muscle twitching
With severe hypocalcemia, the following symptoms can occur:
- Muscle spasm
- Memory loss
- Tingling in the feet, hands, or face
- Easy fracturing
- Muscle cramps
However, symptoms of calcium deficiency may be negligent in moderate cases, which is why its diagnosis can be difficult.
Causes of Calcium Deficiency
There is an array of factors that lead to calcium deficiency in children and adults. Here are some of these factors:
- With age, the risk of hypocalcemia increases
- Improper calcium intake in children for an elongated period
- Medications that lead to low calcium
- Hormonal imbalance or changes in women
- Intolerance towards calcium-rich foods
- Various genetic factors
Diagnosis of Calcium Deficiency
To begin, if you are experiencing any of the above-discussed symptoms, you should consult your doctor for calcium deficiency. As a part of your diagnosis, your doctor will first check your medical history. This includes evaluating the presence of calcium deficiency in family members. 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.
When you consult a doctor, they may order a series of tests to check your body’s calcium level or blood. This should be around 8.8-10.4 milligrams. Anything lower than this can be a warning sign. Especially in children, the amount of calcium in the body can’t sink lower than 8.8 milligrams, since children usually need more calcium to strengthen their bones and teeth.
If any individual is experiencing the following symptoms, they need to seek medical advice immediately.
- Nausea or vomiting sensation
- Severe constipation
- Sleepiness or confusion
- Vomiting multiple times in one day
- Enhanced urination
- Muscle twitching
You can easily treat calcium deficiency by adding the appropriate amount of this mineral 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.
Here are a few supplements that doctors commonly suggest for calcium deficiency:
The primary one is Calcium citrate which absorbs easily in our blood. The secondary is Calcium carbonate which is cost-effective and contains the highest amount of elemental calcium. Lastly, it is Calcium phosphate which is also absorbed easily and doesn’t lead to constipation.
You can consume calcium supplements in chewable, liquid, and tablet forms; whatever is feasible for you.
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
- 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.
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 Healthcare for super specialty medical care. Regency has a multidisciplinary team made up of endocrinologists, dieticians, and physicians who can help you out. Check the website for more details.
Read our latest blog on more deficiencies you should look out for