Hypocalcemia – Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

December 22 21:05 2019 Print This Article

Hypocalcemia is an  electrolyte imbalance and is indicated by a low level of calcium in the blood.  The normal adult value for calcium is 4.5-5.5 mEq/L. Calcium is an important mineral for maintaining human helath. It is not only a component of bones and teeth, but is also essential for normal blood clotting and necessary for normal muscle and nerve functions. The calcium ion (Ca 2+ ) has two positive charges.

In bone, calcium ions occur as a complex with phosphate to form crystals of calcium phosphate. In the bloodstream, calcium ions also occur in complexes, and here calcium is found combined with proteins and various nutrients. However, in the bloodstream, calcium also occurs in a free form.

Normally, about 47% of the calcium in the blood plasma is free, while 53% occurs in a complexed form. Although all of the calcium in the bloodstream serves a useful purpose, it is only the concentration of free calcium ions which as a direct influence on the functioning of our nerves and muscles. For this reason, the measurement of the concentration of free calcium is more important, in the diagnosis of disease, than measuring the level of total calcium or of complexed calcium.

Causes of Hypocalcemia

Find common causes and risk factors of Hypocalcemia:

  • Alcoholism.
  • Drugs such as diuretics, estrogens replacement therapy, fluorides, glucose, insulin, excessive laxative use, and magnesium may also lead to hypocalcemia.
  • Vitamin D deficiency.
  • Certain types of leukemia or blood disorders.
  • Certain things in your diet, like caffeine, phosphates (found in soda pop), and certain antibiotics may make it difficult for you to absorb calcium.
  • Biphosphonate therapy – drugs used to treat high blood calcium levels or pills used to treat osteoporosis.

Signs and Symptoms of Hypocalcemia

Sign and symptoms may include the following:

  • Seizures.
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Muscle twitches
  • Memory loss
  • Lethargy
  • Poor feeding

Treatment for Hypocalcemia

Treatment may include:

  • Intravenous (IV) calcium gluconate
  • Vitamin D
  • Supplemental calcium gluconate (a form of calcium that is easily absorbed) given by mouth