Is Calcium Deficiency Disease?
Calcium is a vital mineral. Your body uses it to stabilize blood
pressure and build strong bones and teeth. When you don’t get enough calcium,
you increase the risk of developing diseases such as osteoporosis, osteopenia
and calcium deficiency disease, also known as hypocalcemia.
You should consume the recommended amount of calcium per day through
the food you eat. If necessary, you can take calcium supplements to get enough
Causes Calcium Deficiency Disease?
The natural aging process can cause calcium deficiency disease.
Most of the calcium in your body is stored in your bones. As you age, your
bones begin to thin or become less dense, increasing your daily calcium
It’s vital for women to consume the recommended daily dose of
calcium during middle age. This is when most women approach menopause. A
decline in the hormone estrogen during menopause causes a woman’s bones to thin
Most menopausal women should increase the amount of calcium in
the foods they eat to reduce the risk of brittle bone disease (osteoporosis)
and calcium deficiency disease. During and after menopause, women should
consume about 1,500 mg
of calcium every day, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Premature babies, babies born to mothers with diabetes, and those
who may have experienced low oxygen levels during gestation, run the risk of
developing neonatal hypocalcemia.
The hormone disorder hypoparathyroidism may also cause calcium
deficiency disease. People with this condition don’t produce enough parathyroid
hormone. This hormone controls calcium levels in the blood.
Other causes of calcium deficiency disease include malnutrition
(starvation) and malabsorption. Malabsorption is when your body can’t absorb
the vitamins and minerals you need from the food you eat.
Are the Symptoms of Calcium Deficiency Disease?
Early-stage calcium deficiency may not cause any symptoms. However,
symptoms will develop as the condition progresses.
Severe symptoms of calcium deficiency disease include:
- memory loss
- muscle spasms
- numbness and tingling in the hands, feet, and
Is Calcium Deficiency Disease Diagnosed?
Contact your doctor if you have symptoms of hypocalcemia. They’ll
review your medical history and ask you about family history of calcium
deficiency and osteoporosis.
If your doctor suspects calcium deficiency, they’ll take a blood
sample to check your blood calcium level. Sustained low calcium levels in your
blood may confirm a diagnosis of calcium deficiency disease.
Is Calcium Deficiency Disease Treated?
Calcium deficiency is usually easy to treat. It typically
involves adding more calcium to your diet. In some cases, your doctor may
prescribe calcium supplements.
Do not self-treat by
taking a large amount of calcium supplements. Taking more than the
recommended dose of calcium without your doctor’s approval can lead to a
calcium overdose. A calcium overdose can be deadly.
Sometimes, diet changes and supplements aren’t enough to treat a
calcium deficiency. In this case, your doctor may want to regulate your calcium
levels by giving you regular calcium injections.
Are the Possible Complications of Calcium Deficiency Disease?
Complications from hypocalcemia include brittle bones, eye
damage, and an abnormal heartbeat. If left untreated, calcium deficiency
disease will eventually lead to death.
Long-term calcium deficiency can increase your risk for
developing osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a disease that causes your bones to
become brittle due to bone loss. With this disease, bones will fracture with
Complications from osteoporosis include:
- spinal fractures
- inability to walk
Can Calcium Deficiency Disease Be Prevented?
Include calcium and vitamin D in your diet every day. Vitamin D
is important because it increases the rate at which calcium is absorbed into
your blood. Ask your doctor how much of each one you need, based on your age
Be aware that foods high in vitamin D and calcium, such as dairy
products, can also be high in saturated fat and trans fat. Choose low-fat or
fat-free options to reduce your risk of developing high cholesterol and heart
disease. Other healthy, calcium-rich food choices include sardines and spinach.
Supplement your diet by taking a multivitamin. Multivitamins may
not contain all of the calcium you need, so be sure to consume a well-rounded
diet. If you’re pregnant, take a prenatal vitamin.
If you’re at high risk for developing calcium deficiency, your
doctor may suggest that you take calcium supplements. Calcium supplements are
available in liquid, tablet, and chewable forms.