What Is Calcium Deficiency?
Calcium is an essential mineral for developing strong bones and teeth. It is also required for the normal physiological functioning of the heart and muscles. When there is lower calcium in the blood it may lead to calcium deficiency or hypocalcemia. Calcium deficiency may lead to several serious disorders like
- Dwarfism in children, as their bones can’t develop to their full potential
You have to take the recommended supplements on daily basis to overcome this deficiency.
What Are The Causes Of Calcium Deficiency?
The risk of developing hypocalcemia increases with the process of aging. There are certain factors involved in this deficiency, including
- Poor dietary intake of calcium since childhood
- Dietary intolerance to calcium-rich food sources
- Consuming medicines that decrease calcium absorption in the body
- Hormonal changes (especially in women after menopause)
- Genetic factors
- Malnutrition or malabsorption
- Hypermagnesemia and hypomagnesemia
- Lower levels of vitamin D
- Massive blood transfusions
- Renal failure
- Septic shock
- Hungry bone syndrome
- Removal of parathyroid gland
Calcium-rich food should be part of your diet at all ages. Before and during menopause, women should increase their intake of supplements. This will reduce the risk of hypocalcemia and osteoporosis. After menopause, a decline in estrogen levels will abruptly cause bones to become fragile. Hypoparathyroidism is also a leading cause of calcium deficiency the reduced levels of parathyroid hormone won’t allow your body to maintain proper calcium levels in the blood.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Calcium Deficiency?
calcium deficiency symptoms manifest has serious health hazards to our bodies if left untreated. If you are experiencing any of the below-mentioned symptoms in you or your children please don’t hesitate to consult your medical professional.
1. Muscle Cramps:
The leading symptom associated with calcium deficiency are muscle cramps. Calcium plays an essential role in muscle contraction and relaxation. Muscle deficient in calcium can’t function properly. This will result in muscle spasms, aches, cramps, and weakness.
2. Tingling and Numbness:
Tingling sensations in the extremities are also a sign of calcium deficiency. Severe deficiency may lead to numbness. Calcium is required by each and every nerve cell of your body. In case of insufficient calcium, these nerve cells can’t properly signal and process sensations.
Calcium deficiency causes fatigue and tiredness. Muscle fibers and nerves require calcium to function properly and its deficiency may lead to muscle fatigue, weakness, and exhaustion.
4. Abnormal Heart Rhythm:
Abnormal heartbeat is a prominent sign of calcium deficiency and can be dangerous in severe deficiency. It leads to serious abnormalities that can be monitored on electrocardiogram (ECG). keeping in mind that the heart is a muscle and requires calcium for its normal functioning. Hypocalcemia may cause heart muscles spasm and narrowing of arteries leading to cardiac arrest.
Calcium is required by brain cells to release neurotransmitters, and by muscles to contract. Hypocalcemia causes over-excitement of these neurotransmitters in the brain which can trigger seizures.
6. Osteoporosis and Osteopenia:
Brittle or fragile bones or osteoporosis are deficiencies in the body. Osteoporosis is an advanced form of osteopenia. When there is lower calcium intake in your diet, your body has to extract it from your bones to overcome the blood deficiency. With the passage of time calcium deficiency may lead to extreme bone fragility and weakness along with a drastic increase in the risk of fractures.
7. Dry Skin:
Hypocalcemia may cause your skin to become dry and scaly. Calcium supports skin health. It reduces the pH of the skin and shields the skin barrier by preventing excessive water loss from the skin. A reduced level of calcium in the blood results in scaly and dry skin.
8. Mental Disorders:
Calcium is required by brain and nerve cells to work properly. Hypocalcemia reduces the neurotransmitter stimulation in the brain. This will impair cognitive functions and eventually results in dementia (memory loss), confusion, and disorientation.
9. Premenstrual Syndrome:
The immediate cause of Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) is still unknown. However, a lower level of calcium and vitamin D can trigger it and shows more pronounced symptoms. Vitamin D and calcium intake by such patients can minimize or eliminates the symptoms of Premenstrual Syndrome.
10. Gum diseases and tooth decay:
Calcium is required for the proper development and strength of your teeth. Diet and mouth bacteria can reduce minerals in the teeth. Proper intake of calcium is preliminary to overcome this mineral loss. According to several studies, hypocalcemia may lead to different gum diseases.
A reduced level of calcium and vitamin D can cause rickets in children. A growing child needs an adequate amount of calcium and vitamin D to prevent the mineralization of bones. Their bones become fragile and may lead to other bone deformities.
Complications of Calcium Deficiency:
Calcium deficiency if left untreated may lead to the following complications:
- Abnormal heartbeat
- Spinal or other bone fractures
- Eye damage
- Difficult walking
How to diagnose calcium deficiency?
Do consult your healthcare practitioner if have any of the above-mentioned symptoms. He will ask about your family and medical history of calcium deficiency or osteoporosis. For confirmatory diagnosis he can recommend your blood work analysis. Normal blood calcium levels are 8.8 - 10.4 mg for adults. Children and teenagers have usually higher calcium levels than adults.
How to prevent Calcium deficiency through lifestyle modifications?
Along with maintaining healthy calcium and vitamin D levels, there are a few lifestyle modifications you can adopt to improve bone health. These are as follows:
- Regular exercise
- Maintaining a healthy body weight
- Avoiding alcohol intake or tobacco use
How to treat calcium deficiency?
Improving calcium intake can conveniently overcome your calcium deficiency. Please avoid self-treatment by taking several calcium supplements. The over dosage of calcium may cause adverse effects on your health like kidney stones.
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Vitamin D plays a significant role n calcium absorption in the blood. To increase calcium levels you have to add vitamin D supplements to your daily routine. Sol-D and Calary-D are the best vitamin D supplements by Ginnastic Nutrition. They are formulated to maintain mineral density, reduce the risk of osteoporosis, support bones, and teeth, maintain a healthy immune system, and increase calcium absorption in the body.