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Home > Blog > Calcium Deficiency Disease (Hypocalcemia) - Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatment

Calcium Deficiency Disease (Hypocalcemia) - Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatment

Calcium Deficiency Disease (Hypocalcemia) - Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatment

Max Lab

Nov 10, 2022

Calcium is one of the most important nutrients our bodies need in order to stay healthy and function properly. It’s essential for strong bones and teeth, as well as for proper muscle and nerve function. Despite its importance, calcium deficiency is surprisingly common, particularly among women and seniors. In this article, we will explore the causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of calcium deficiency.

What is Calcium Deficiency Disease (Hypocalcemia)?

When your body doesn’t have enough calcium, it can lead to a condition called calcium deficiency disease. This can happen when you don’t get enough calcium in your diet or if your body can’t absorb it properly. Calcium is important for building strong bones and teeth, as well as proper muscle function.

What Causes Calcium Deficiency (Hypocalcemia)?

There are many potential causes of calcium deficiency, also known as hypocalcemia. Common causes include:

  • A lack of vitamin D: Vitamin D is essential for calcium absorption from the gut. A lack of vitamin D can therefore lead to calcium deficiency.
  • Kidney problems: Kidney disease can impair calcium excretion, leading to a buildup of calcium in the body and eventually calcium deficiency.
  • Certain medications: Some medications, such as corticosteroids and antacids, can interfere with calcium absorption and lead to deficiency.
  • Pregnancy and breast-feeding: These periods of increased demand for calcium can lead to the deficiency if dietary intake is inadequate.
  • Poor diet: A diet that is low in calcium-rich foods (such as dairy products, leafy greens, and certain nuts and seeds) can cause deficiency.

What are the Symptoms of Calcium Deficiency (Hypocalcemia)?

Calcium is an important mineral that is needed for many bodily functions. It is especially important for strong bones and teeth. Calcium deficiency, or hypocalcemia, can cause a variety of symptoms.

The most common symptom of calcium deficiency is

  • muscle cramps
  • numbness
  • tingling in the hands and feet
  • anxiety
  • irritability
  • depression

In severe cases, calcium deficiency can lead to seizures and death.

If you think you may be calcium deficient, it is important to see a doctor for a diagnosis. A quick blood test can be used to determine calcium levels. Treatment for calcium deficiency usually involves taking supplements or eating foods that are high in calcium.

How is Calcium Deficiency Disease Diagnosed?

A blood test is the most common way to diagnose calcium deficiency disease. Your doctor may also recommend a bone density test. This is a test that measures how much calcium is in your bones.

Other Lab Tests

How is Calcium Deficiency Treated?

If you are diagnosed with calcium deficiency, your doctor will likely recommend that you take a calcium supplement. The amount of calcium you will need to take depends on how severe your deficiency is. In some cases, your doctor may also recommend that you take vitamin D along with your calcium supplement to help your body absorb the calcium.

What are the Possible Complications of Calcium Deficiency?

One of the most serious complications of calcium deficiency is osteoporosis. Bone becomes weak and brittle, and is more likely to break in the condition called Osteoporosis. Calcium helps keep bones strong, so when there is not enough calcium in the body, bones can become weak and fragile.

Other potential complications of calcium deficiency include

Calcium is important for many functions in the body, and when there is not enough calcium present, these various health problems can occur.

Foods for Calcium Deficiency

If you have calcium deficiency, your body doesn’t have enough calcium to support normal function. This can lead to problems such as weak bones, osteoporosis, and muscle cramps.

A diet rich in calcium can help prevent or treat these problems. Calcium-rich foods include:

  • dairy products such as milk, yogurt, and cheese
  • green leafy vegetables such as broccoli and kale
  • calcium-fortified foods such as tofu
  • orange juice
  • bread

How can Calcium Deficiency be Prevented?

There are several ways in which calcium deficiency can be prevented, including:

  • ensuring that you consume enough calcium-rich foods (such as dairy products, green leafy vegetables, and nuts) on a daily basis
  • taking a calcium supplement if you are not able to get enough calcium from your diet
  • getting regular exercise, which helps to build and maintain strong bones
  • avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol consumption, which can lead to bone loss

Calcium Deficiency in Children - Causes & Problems

A lack of calcium can lead to problems such as:

  • weakening of the bones
  • osteoporosis
  • rickets
  • tooth decay
  • muscle cramps
  • tetany (involuntary muscle spasms)

Causes of Calcium Deficiency in Children

Calcium is found in many foods, but sometimes children do not get enough. Other times, their bodies may not absorb enough calcium from what they eat. Children need extra calcium during periods of growth, such as infancy, childhood, and adolescence. Some medical conditions and medications can also interfere with calcium absorption.

Calcium Deficiency in Women - Causes & Symptoms

As women age, they are at increased risk for developing osteoporosis, or porous bone. Low bone mass and bone tissue deterioration are symptoms of osteoporosis. This makes bones weak and fragile, and more likely to break.

Calcium is essential for strong bones. Bones can become weak and brittle when there is not enough calcium in the diet or when the body does not absorb enough calcium from the diet. Fractures may result from this, even with minor trauma.

Causes of Calcium Deficiency in Women

There are many causes of calcium deficiency. Poor dietary intake is the most common cause, especially in women

  • Who do not eat enough dairy products
  • Not having other calcium-rich foods
  • Other causes include certain medical conditions (such as celiac disease or Crohn's disease)
  • Medications (such as corticosteroids)
  • limited exposure to sunlight (which is needed for the body to produce vitamin D)

Symptoms of calcium deficiency in Women:

  • fatigue
  • muscle cramps
  • numbness and tingling in the hands and feet
  • osteopenia (mild bone loss)
  • osteoporosis

Want to book a Blood Test?

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)

Calcium deficiency disease, also known as hypocalcemia, is a condition that occurs when there is an insufficient amount of calcium in the bloodstream. Calcium is not only vital for strong bones and teeth but also plays a crucial role in various bodily functions.

One common cause is a lack of calcium in the diet. If your daily intake of calcium falls short of what your body needs, it can lead to a deficiency over time. Another possible cause of hypocalcemia is an underlying medical condition that affects the absorption or metabolism of calcium. Conditions such as kidney disease, vitamin D deficiency, and certain hormonal disorders can disrupt the body's ability to maintain adequate levels of calcium.

Symptoms include:

  • Muscle Cramps
  • Numbness in the hands
  • Fatigue
  • Brittle Nails
  • Hair Loss
  • Dental Problems
  • Depression

Blood tests are commonly used to confirm the presence of hypocalcemia. These tests measure the levels of calcium in your blood, as well as other minerals like phosphorus and magnesium. Additionally, they may check for abnormalities in parathyroid hormone levels or vitamin D levels, which can contribute to calcium deficiencies.

For adults between the ages of 19 and 50, the recommended daily intake is around 1000 milligrams (mg) per day. However, for those over the age of 50, it increases to approximately 1200 mg per day. Pregnant or breastfeeding women may also require higher levels of calcium.

Low levels of calcium may interfere with this process, increasing the risk of excessive bleeding even from minor injuries. It also contributes to muscle contraction including those of the heart; hence hypocalcemia might lead to abnormal cardiac rhythms as well.

The duration of hypocalcemia can vary depending on the underlying cause and how quickly it is treated. In some cases, calcium deficiency may be resolved within a few weeks with appropriate treatment and dietary changes. However, in more severe or chronic cases, it may take several months to restore normal calcium levels.

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