Calcium Deficiency (Hypocalcemia)
Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the human body. The body needs calcium to function properly. It is essential for bone and tooth health, as well as for muscle contraction, blood clotting, and nerve transmission.
Hypocalcemia is a condition where the levels in one’s blood of calcium are below normal. A long-term calcium deficiency can lead to a number of serious health issues, including dental problems, deafness, brain changes, and osteoporosis. Osteoporosis may cause bones to become brittle.
A calcium deficiency usually causes no early symptoms, but without treatment, it can become life-threatening.
If you’ve been experiencing symptoms related to low levels of calcium, don’t hesitate – this article can provide you with a quick and simple way to prevent or treat it. Along the way, we also discuss what calcium deficiency is, how it can appear and the people who are most at risk.
The most common causes of calcium deficiency are:
- Lack of calcium in the diet
- Lack of vitamin D, which is needed to absorb calcium
- Kidney disease, which can cause the body to excrete too much calcium
- Excessive use of alcohol, drugs or tobacco, which can cause the body to lose too much calcium
- Excessive use of antacids, which bind calcium in the gut, preventing it from being absorbed
- Excessive use of aspirin (salicylate) also inhibits calcium absorption; as a result people with arthritis may develop rickets (a softening of the bones due to a lack of calcium)
This is a condition in which the level of calcium in the blood is lower than normal. The symptoms of hypocalcemia can vary from person to person and from time to time. They may include:
- Muscle spasms
- Paresthesia, or pins and needles feeling
- Weight loss
- Bruising easily and slow wound healing
- Panic attacks
- Loss of appetite
- Nerve problems such as tingling or numbness in the hands or feet
- Increased risk for heart disease, osteoporosis, and colon cancer
When to contact a doctor?
It is important to know the signs and symptoms of calcium deficiency. If you are experiencing any of the above mentioned symptoms, it is best to contact a doctor.
Doctors define hypocalcemia, or a calcium deficiency, as a calcium concentration of less than 8.8 milligrams per deciliter.
The recommended dietary allowance of calcium for adults aged 19–50 is 1,000 mg. Older adults need more, however: Females aged at least 51 and males aged at least 71 should be consuming 1,200 mg of calcium per day.
Is Calcium Deficiency Disease Common?
Calcium deficiency is a disease that is not common in the United States. However, it can be seen in some countries such as India and China. The lack of calcium in the human body can lead to osteoporosis and weak bones.
Many people are not aware of how important calcium is for their health. It helps with blood clotting, muscle contraction, nerve transmission, and cell division. And it also helps with bone formation and maintenance.
While health experts have yet to establish exactly how common this deficiency is, groups with a higher risk include:
- postmenopausal people
- people with amenorrhea, the absence of menstruation
- people with lactose intolerance
- people who have vegetarian or vegan diets
There are many cases of calcium deficiency disease. It is most common in pregnant women, people with eating disorders or who have had their stomach removed, and people who do not drink milk or eat dairy products.
Calcium is an essential mineral for our body. It is a major component of bones and teeth, as well as the blood vessels, muscles and nerves. When we don’t get enough calcium, our body will take it from our bones and teeth to keep the other organs functioning properly. This can lead to some serious complications.
Complications of calcium deficiency include:
- Osteoporosis: A condition where the bones become weak and brittle. The risk of broken bones increases and they may even break without any impact or injury to them at all.
- Constipation: The lack of calcium can lead to constipation because the intestines require calcium for proper function.
- Heart attack: Calcium deficiency leads to high levels of cholesterol in the blood, which is a risk factor for heart attack and stroke.
- Diabetes: Diabetes can lead to complications such as heart disease and strokes because it causes decreased bone mineral density (BMD) and increased insulin resistance.
- High blood pressure: Inadequate calcium intake can lead to high blood pressure because calcium helps to relax and contract muscles in the walls of arteries. If you have high blood pressure with low levels of calcium, it may lead to complications such as heart rhythm problems or kidney stones.
- kidney stones
- Muscle cramps or spasms (including menstrual cramps)
- Increased risk for seizures (due to low levels of calcium in the brain)
- Decrease in strength and endurance.
- Dental problems
- Various skin conditions
- Chronic joint and muscle pain
The body needs calcium to maintain strong and healthy bones. When there is not enough calcium in the diet or when the body cannot use it properly due to certain medical conditions such as celiac disease or inflammatory bowel disease, bone loss may occur.
Treatment and Prevention
The average person needs about 1000mg of calcium per day to maintain good health. Dairy products are a good source of calcium because they have high levels of calcium and also provide other nutrients such as protein and vitamin D that are important for bone health.
There are many ways to treat and prevent calcium deficiency is to have a diet high in calcium. The foods rich in calcium include:
- Dairy products like milk, cheese, yogurt
- Green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, collard greens, broccoli
- Canned fish with bones (sardines)
- Almonds and sesame seeds
- Soybeans or tofu made with calcium sulfate or magnesium chloride
- Calcium-fortified orange juice or soy milk
- Certain types of breakfast cereal
- Figs, seaweed (especially if it’s dried)
Vitamin D deficiency can happen in people with or without a history of chronic disease such as osteoporosis. Vitamin D helps the body to better absorb calcium and phosphorous. Some foods that contain vitamin D include:
- Fatty fish like salmon, tuna, or mackerel
- Fortified soy milk
- Fortified cereals like Cheerios and Corn Flakes
Contact your doctor before taking any calcium supplements. Taking in more than the recommended amount of calcium (called hypercalcemia), can increase your chances of developing cardiovascular disease, kidney stones, and other related health issues.
If dietary changes and/or supplements have failed to improve your condition, talk to your doctor about getting a calcium injection.
Calcium deficiency disease is a condition in which the body does not have enough calcium to maintain good health. It can be caused by dietary, health or medical issues. A lack of calcium can lead to things like brittle bones, poor muscle function, and even heart problems.
The best way to get more calcium in the diet is by adding it. When this isn’t possible, a doctor may prescribe supplements, either as oral tablets or injections. Most people who receive treatment experience an improvement in symptoms within a few weeks.
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