Hypomagnesemia – Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

December 22 21:07 2019 Print This Article

Hypomagnesemia is an  electrolyte imbalance and is indicated by a low level of magnesium in the blood.  The normal adult value for magnesium is 1.5-2.5 mEq/L. Deficiency of magnesium causes among others cardiac arrhythmia and increased irritability of the nervous system with tetany. It may result from a number of conditions including inadequate intake of magnesium, chronic diarrhea, malabsorption, alcoholism, diuretic use and other disorders.

One of the greatest risk factors for hypomagnesemia is hospitalization. About 10% of those hospitalized in regular wards have hypomagnesemia. The figure jumps alarmingly to about 60% of patients who are in intensive care units. Premature babies stand out as one of the highest risk groups because of long hospitalizations in intensive care. These high numbers are thought to be caused by the common practice of giving intravenous fluids, without magnesium supplementation, to patients in hospitals. The kidneys have a difficult time processing the fluid, and exhibit some degree of renal insufficiency.

Hypomagnesemia is particularly troublesome among premature babies, as they may already exhibit some renal insufficiency. About 80% of patients who have just suffered a heart attack will develop hypomagnesemia. Those with chronic diarrhea may also suffer from this condition. Diabetics, too, have high risk of developing hypomagnesemia. In addition, heart medications like digoxin can interfere with the absorption of magnesium. Diuretics like Lasix® can also deplete magnesium blood levels.

Certain antibiotics may cause hypomagnesemia. Others presenting with hypomagnesemia simply do not have enough magnesium in their diet, causing low blood levels. Populations without access to quality nutrition, or anorexics and bulimics, fall into this category.

Causes of Hypomagnesemia

Find common causes and risk factors of Hypomagnesemia:

  • Alcoholism.
  • Pregnancy.
  • Diabetes.
  • Medications -such as Pentamidine, Amphotericin B, aminoglycosides antibiotics, Cisplatin, and water pills such as furosemide or thiazide.
  • Excess intravenous fluids.
  • Kidney transplant patients.
  • Chronic Diarrhea or Laxative Abuse.

Signs and Symptoms of Hypomagnesemia

Sign and symptoms may include the following:

  • Muscle Spasm’s.
  • Muscle Cramps or tremors.