What are the symptoms of calcium deficiency?

The symptoms of calcium deficiency vary depending on the type of calcium deficiency, the underlying cause, the severity, and individual factors.

Symptoms of dietary calcium deficiency

There are generally no symptoms of dietary calcium deficiency until bone thinning occurs and fractures develop in weakened bones. Symptoms can be vague, take years to develop, and may not be noticeable until advanced osteoporosis has developed. Symptoms can include:

  • Back or neck pain, which can be severe because of spinal bone fractures

  • Bone pain or tenderness

  • Fracture that occurs with little or no trauma

  • Loss of height

  • Stooped posture due to kyphosis (abnormal curving of the spine and humpback)

Symptoms of hypocalcemia

Symptoms of hypocalcemia, or low levels of calcium in the blood, are generally different from symptoms of dietary calcium deficiency. Some people may have no symptoms of hypocalcemia, while others may experience the following symptoms:

  • Muscle cramps

  • Numbness

  • Paresthesia (burning or prickling sensations)

  • Petechiae (bleeding under the skin forming tiny red dots)

  • Poor appetite

  • Purpura (large bruised areas)

Serious symptoms that might indicate a life-threatening condition

Calcium deficiency may occur with symptoms that might indicate a serious or life-threatening condition that should be immediately evaluated in an emergency setting. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if you, or someone you are with, have any of these life-threatening symptoms:

  • Change in level of consciousness or alertness, such as passing out (fainting) or unresponsiveness

  • Chest pain, tightness, pressure, or heart palpitations

  • Rapid, irregular or weak pulse

  • Respiratory or breathing problems, such as shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, labored breathing, wheezing, not breathing, or choking

  • Seizure

  • Tetany (muscle contractions, which can be sudden, powerful and painful)

  • Unusual or profound weakness

What is calcium deficiency?

Calcium deficiency is a condition in which the body has an inadequate amount of calcium. Calcium is a mineral that is essential for many aspects of health, including the health of bones and teeth, and a normal heart rhythm. This mineral is also required for muscle contractions and relaxation, nerve and hormone function, and blood pressure regulation.

... Read more about calcium deficiencyintroduction


What causes calcium deficiency?

The causes of calcium deficiency differ depending on the type of calcium deficiency.

Causes of dietary calcium deficiency

Dietary calcium deficiency is most commonly caused by failure to consume optimal levels of calcium in the diet over an extended period of time. A deficiency of vitamin D, phosphorus or magnesium, all of which promote calcium absorption and use, can a... Read more about calcium deficiencycauses


How is calcium deficiency treated? 

Prompt diagnosis and treatment of dietary calcium deficiency reduces the risk of developing serious complications, such as hypertension (high blood pressure) and osteoporosis. Treatments involve replacing the body’s depleted calcium stores and may include:

Medical Reviewer: Cynthia Haines, MD Last Annual Review Date: Aug 1, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Bones, Joints and Muscles

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