Hypocalcemia also called as hypocalcemia. Hypocalcemia is a calcium deficiency disease. It is a condition, in which calcium levels are low in blood serum. The normal level of calcium should be 2.1 – 2.6 mmol/L (8.8 – 10.7 mg/dl). Lower than 2.1 mmol/ L is hypocalcemia. Low levels of calcium develop without any symptoms.
Calcium Deficiency Disorder
Table of Contents
Calcium is an essential mineral. The human body uses calcium for healthy teeth and bones. It also helps in the functions of heart and muscles. Calcium loss develops risky diseases, such as
- Osteopenia (bone loss)
- Hypocalcemia (Low calcium)
- Osteoporosis(decrease of bone density)
Children with calcium disorder do not reach an appropriate height as an adult. Recommended supplement and vitamins are necessary to fulfill calcium need.
Causes of Hypocalcemia
Hypoparathyroidism is the leading cause of hypocalcemia. It is a condition of reduced secretion of parathyroid hormone. It reduces the calcium blood and raises phosphorus blood levels.
Parathyroid hormone makes kidneys to reabsorb calcium. It increases the calcitriol (the activated vitamin D). The intestine calcium absorption makes bones to release the calcium. This condition rebalances the blood calcium levels. Though, the reduced parathyroid hormone causes the body to lose its regulatory function. This condition results in hypocalcemia.
Calcium intake is necessary for women than men in their middle age. The calcium need is important for a woman near menopause. Taking enough calcium could prevent bone thinning, caused by reduced estrogen hormones.
Several hormone imbalances also cause calcium disorder. The body needs to produce the parathyroid hormone to maintain the calcium in the blood. Inadequate nutrition and decreased absorption of vitamin and minerals also cause hypocalcemia.
Other causes include
- Digestion disorders
- Continued vomiting
- Mercury exposure & infantile acrodynia
- More magnesium
- More Zinc
- Prolonged medication usage
- Mercury therapy
- Osteoporosis Medication
- Kidney diseases
- Vitamin D absence
- Limited dietary intake
- Limited sun exposure
- Malabsorption in intestine
- Tumour lysis disease
- Severe kidney failure
- Acute kidney failure
- Muscles injury
- Hydrofluoric acid exposure
- Pancreatitis disorder
- Newborn hypocalcemia
- Low birth weight
- Less than 32 weeks gestational age
Missing the daily calcium intake will not cause you calcium deficiency. The disease takes time to develop. Still, it is necessary to get daily recommended calcium. Like how the body needs other vitamin and mineral, calcium is essential for good health.
Calcium deficiency does not show short-term symptoms. The body manages calcium levels from bones. But long-term low calcium could affect health.
Symptoms of Hypocalcemia
The neuromuscular symptoms occur when calcium interaction reduces with sodium channels. The calcium blocks sodium channels. It restrains the depolarization of muscles, nerve, and fibers. The decreased calcium diminishes the depolarization. At the early stage, calcium disorder does not show any symptoms. The symptoms occur as the disease progress.
Muscle cramps, spasms, and pain are the initial symptoms of calcium disease. People may get the pain in the arms, thighs, and underarms while walking and moving.
You may notice numbness and tingling in the body parts such as mouth, legs, hands, arms, and feet. These symptoms may come and go, but will not disappear completely.
Muscle spasm may become severe. The hands take a position such as enlarged fingers and the abducted thumb. It is also known as Trousseau’s sign.
Low calcium may cause sleepiness or insomnia. You may experience extreme fatigue, weakness, lethargy, brain fog, dizziness, confusion, and forgetfulness.
Severe calcium disorder in serum calcium may lead to calcification in the brain such as
- Cerebral cortex
These calcification results in neurological symptoms.
Sever Hypocalcemia affect skin and nail health. It shows symptom such as skin, nails, and hair disorder. With skin disorder, it also reveals the condition such as psoriasis or eczema. Moreover, we can notice flexed nails, split and discolored hair. The disease also contributes to alopecia in which hair falls in round patches.
Poor Functions of Heart and Eyes
Lack of serum calcium heart and eyes health gets affected. The problem may arise with eyes such as character and vision.
Hypocalcemia can also harm the heart functions. It causes heart disease such as congestive heart problem, cardiomyopathy. This condition can be reversible with a calcium supplement.
Calcium Deficiency in Newborns
Hypocalcemia affects newborn babies also. At early hypocalcemia shows the symptoms in the first week of birth. The late symptoms occur after some weeks of birth.
The symptoms of calcium disorder in newborns:
- Poor feeding
- Brain disturbance
Bone Loss & Bone Density Disorder
Calcium disorder may lead to Osteopenia and osteoporosis. Osteopenia decreases the mineral density of bone. Bone loss disorder makes bone thinner and sensitive to fractures. It causes bone pain, posture problem, and future disability.
Hypocalcemia causes dental problems. Approximately 99% of calcium present in bones and teeth. When your calcium levels become low your teeth may get affected. You will become sensitive to tooth decay and tooth pain. Calcium deficiency causes teeth growth delay in kids. It is a basic low calcium symptom in kids.
Painful Menstrual Cramps
Calcium disorder in women can be exhausting. Low calcium affects the menstrual cycle. If the menstrual cycle having extreme pain, it could be a sign of low calcium. During menstruation, calcium helps muscle contraction to relax. Inadequate calcium levels cause more bleeding and irregular menstruation cycle. Calcium is an essential component for developing uterus and ovarian hormones.
Diagnosis of Hypocalcemia
Consult your doctor if you notice the above calcium disorder symptoms. The medical expert will examine your conditions. Even they will check with your family history of calcium disorder.
Your doctor will take the blood sample to test the blood calcium levels. The doctor will measure the significant things in blood such as
- Calcium levels
- Albumin levels
Albumin is a globular protein that connects to calcium and carries it in blood. Continues reduced calcium levels in the blood may confirm hypocalcemia diagnosis. For an adult, the average calcium levels may range from 8.8 to 10.4 (mg/dL). You are at risk of calcium disorder if diagnosis shows calcium levels lower than 8.8 mg/dL. Infants and teenagers have high blood calcium than adults.
Hypocalcemia has a simple treatment. Increasing calcium intake in diet can help. But, self-treatment of calcium supplement may affect. Consulting a doctor could save you from excess calcium. More calcium causes serious health problem such as kidney stone.
Here are some calcium supplement recommended for better treatment:
- Calcium carbonate – Affordable
- Calcium citrate – It absorbs fast
- Calcium phosphate – It prevents constipation
The calcium supplement can found as a tablet and liquid. It is necessary to take the doctor’s opinion before taking a supplement. Some medication interacts with calcium.
Here are the medications which interact with calcium:
- Atenolol – It is a beta blockers medicine for blood pressure. It may reduce calcium absorption within two hours of calcium intake.
- Antacids – It increases aluminum in blood levels.
- Colestipol – It reduces bile acid and calcium absorption and develops the loss of calcium.
- Digoxin – High calcium levels raises toxicity of digoxin
- Diuretics – It may increase or decrease calcium levels
There are certain medications such as tetracyclines and fluoroquinolones. These medicines lose the absorption because of a calcium supplement.
In some conditions supplements and diet are not enough for calcium disorder treatment. The doctor may suggest taking calcium injection to regulate calcium.
Treatment result starts to show in the first few weeks of treatment. Many calcium diseases will take one to three months of time for monitoring.
Continued treatment of hypocalcemia helps to demineralized bones. It maintains low to normal range calcium levels.
You need to take care of overtreatment complications :
- Renal dysfunction
Excessive treatment could be toxic. Thus, you need to check with a doctor for the treatment duration.
For example: For the patient of permanent autoimmune hypoparathyroidism need long-term treatment.
But a patient with temporary post-operative hypoparathyroidism needs to manage calcium without therapy.
Complications of Hypocalcemia
Hypocalcemia affects the significant parts of the body. The complications may occur such as
- Irregular heartbeats
- Eyes damage
- Physical disability
- Spinal and bone fractures
- Difficulty walking
Including calcium food in everyday diet could prevent hypocalcemia. But check with high calcium food like dairy products. Choose the fat-free food to avoid heart disease and high cholesterol.
Safe Food to Add-In Calcium Deficiency Diet
Here are some foods which may help you to regulate calcium levels.
All dairy products such as cheez, milk, and yogurt are a rich source of calcium. It contains 82 mg calcium per 100 gm. Milk intake from childhood helps to build the strong bone. It helps to recover the bone loss. Milk is an excellent and affordable source of calcium. One cup of milk contains 276 – 352mg calcium. The dairy products also helpful for calcium absorb. Moreover, milk has vitamin A, D, and protein.
Beans and Lentils
Worldwide health authorities did research. They suggest the intake of beans, lentils, chickpeas & split peas promote bone health. The beans and lentils contain Phytic acid. It helps to soften the bones & anti-calcifying. The study shows that a woman having high phytate levels will have a less bone health problem.
Among nuts, almonds have rich calcium. It contains 264 gm calcium per 100 gm. Almond provide healthy fat and protein. It helps to lower the risk of metabolic diseases.
Salmon and Sardines
Salmon and sardines are rich sources of calcium, including edible bone. The presence of omega 3, minerals, and protein help to boost health. Sardines have mercury, which helps to reduce the mercury toxicity.
The whey protein is available in milk. It is a liquid remaining after milk curdled. It is a rich source of calcium. One ounce of whey protein contains 28 gm calcium. The whey protein has fast digesting amino acids. According to research whey diet helps to control blood sugar and weight loss.
Spinach contains 99 gm calcium per 100 gm. It is an excellent source of vitamin A, K, manganese, and folate. Eating spinach helps to reduce the risk of heart problems, cancer & aging.
Eating one cup of cooked spinach provide 244.8 mg calcium. Spinach also helps in calcium absorption. Adding spinach to hypocalcemia diet gives health benefits.
Extra Nutrients Foods
Adding nutritional foods to your diet can prevent calcium disorder. Some cereals, such as Raisin Bran, Corn Flakes contain 1,000 mg calcium. Remember, the body may not absorb all calcium at once. You need to divide the calcium intakes. It helps to absorb the required calcium.
Calcium is vital for bone health. When it comes to the healthy bone and bone mass, you need to add calcium with vitamin combinations such as
Vitamin D helps to absorb the calcium in the stomach. It is important for functions of calcium in the body. The suggested treatment is to combine Calcium and vitamin D for hypocalcemia.
You can get calcium from foods and supplements. The body needs proper sun exposure to produce the vitamin D.
Inform your doctor about previous health conditions such as
- Kidney stone history
- Heart problem
Vitamin K2 removes calcium deposits from arteries. It moves the calcium into bones and prevents blood clotting. K2 helps in the bone reformation and reduces bone loss. The research found vitamin K2 protect against arterial calcification. Vitamin k2 stays active for longer than k1. It helps for better calcium consumption.
Enough magnesium is necessary for the calcium and vitamin D absorption. Magnesium converts an active form of vitamin D. It helps in calcium absorption. Magnesium stimulates specific hormone calcitonin. It helps to preserve bone structure in the body. Magnesium control vitamin D usage and activate cellular enzyme activity.
The calcium recommendation is 1000 mg on a daily basis for the age group of 19 – 50. Whereas, the age group below 19 needs more calcium intake.
It is a good idea to consult the doctor for all calcium related problems. Calcium supplement without consultation creates adverse health problems. Thus, maintain healthy calcium diet under observation of an expert.