A normal range of calcium in the human blood stream is within the range of 2.2-2.6mmol/L. Hypocalcaemia (or hypocalcemia) is an abnormal low level of calcium in the blood. When blood calcium levels fall below normal, specific treatment must be done to restore it to normal. This is a very dangerous condition. Low blood calcium levels usually means that the person is not getting enough calcium intake in their diet. The way that hypocalcaemia is diagnosed is through blood serum tests.

When blood calcium levels drop suddenly there are several symptoms that can occur. Some of these symptoms are muscle cramps and “pins and needle” sensations in the body. If hypocalcaemia persists for long periods of time the muscle cramps may lessen. However, more serious problems can then develop. Cataracts may form in the eyes. Dry hair and skin as well as brittle nails will develop. The person who has hypocalcaemia will also experience a prolonged feeling of tiredness and joint pain. Children who have developed hypocalcaemia will begin to have behavior problems as well as dental problems.

One of the first symptoms of low blood calcium is a deficient amount of parathyroid hormone that is produced by the parathyroid glands. The parathyroid glands can be damaged after surgery for a goiter. They may also fail to form normally during fetal development. There are other things that can happen that will disable the parathyroid glands from functioning properly as well.

If hypocalcaemia persists the body will start robbing calcium from the bones. This leads to fragile bones and puts the person at risk for bone fractures and breaks. Osteoporosis can develop and can go undetected until bone fractures occur. Immediate treatment for hypocalcaemia is important. Many postmenopausal women can be greatly helped by treatment. Treatment can also help prevent being at risk for other degenerative diseases.

Normal calcium levels can be restored by eating calcium rich foods and by taking calcium supplements. A normal dosage for calcium supplements is between 1000-1500 mg a day for the average person. If the person has a calcium deficiency they should increase their dosage to about 2000 mg. Vitamin D is also crucial for the absorption of calcium. Calcitriol can help the intestines to absorb calcium. The amount needed will depend on the severity of calcium deficiency. Phosphate from food is also needed to help increase or maintain adequate amounts of blood calcium.

Treating for hypocalcemia involves doing several more blood tests to make sure the calcium levels in the blood are beginning to normalize after treatment begins. The dosage of calcium and vitamin D intake will need to be adjusted until calcium levels are stabilized. After calcium levels are stabilized the patient will only need to have a blood test check done once or twice a year after that.

There is a risk of over correcting hypocalcaemia to the point where the patient’s blood calcium levels will become too high. This is why the patient must be carefully monitored until the levels are stabilized. Too high levels of calcium in the blood can result in extreme thirst, increased urine flow, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting. The person may also become constipated when they have too much calcium in the blood. If you are being treated for hypocalcaemia you should go to the doctor immediately if you begin to experience these symptoms. If blood calcium levels are too high you will have to stop taking the calcium with vitamin D supplements. After that the medical experts usually advise that the patient take a lowered dose of these supplements with a follow up blood test done to recheck the calcium levels. Certain medications may interfere with vitamin D and calcium supplementation. Be sure to discuss your medications with your doctor before beginning treatment.

Last updated on Jul 28th, 2010 and filed under Other Conditions & Diseases. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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