Calcium Deficiency: Treatments

By Shaffer, Michael
By Spader, Catherine, RN

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:

  • Adjusting or changing medications that are associated with calcium deficiencies, such as diuretics. You should not change or stop taking any medication without first consulting with your licensed health care provider.

  • Consuming adequate or increased amounts of calcium-rich foods, such as dairy products; green, leafy vegetables; seafood; nuts; and dried beans

  • Consuming calcium-enriched foods, such as orange juice and bread

  • Engaging in a regular, but not extremely strenuous exercise program

  • Taking calcium supplements as recommended by your licensed health care provider. Supplementation may include vitamin D and phosphorous.

Treatment of hypocalcemia, which is a low blood level of calcium, includes diagnosing and treating the underlying disease or cause and any associated complications. Treatment generally includes calcium supplementation. In severe cases, treatment may include hospitalization, close monitoring in an intensive care unit, and the administration of intravenous calcium.

What are the potential complications of calcium deficiency? 

Complications of calcium deficiency can be serious and even life threatening, particularly in some cases of hypocalcemia. You can treat calcium deficiency and minimize the risk of complications by following the treatment plan you and your health care professional design specifically for you. Potential complications of calcium deficiency include:

  • Cardiac arrhythmia (abnormal heart rhythm)

  • Chronic bone and joint pain

  • Depression

  • Gynecological problems, such as infertility and irregular periods

  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)

  • Kyphosis (abnormal curving of the spine and humpback) and loss of height

  • Laryngospasm (spasm of the larynx)

  • Osteomalacia (softening of the bones)

  • Osteopenia (low bone mass)

  • Osteoporosis (thinning and weakening of the bones) and fractures

  • Rickets (low bone mass due to vitamin D deficiency during childhood bone development)

References:

  1. Calcium. Office of Dietary Supplements. National Institutes of Health. http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Calcium.
  2. Calcium in Diet. Medline Plus, a service of the National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002412.htm.
  3. Calcium, Dietary. American Heart Association.  http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/NutritionCenter/Calcium-Dietary_UCM_305891_Article.jsp.

INTRODUCTION

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

SYMPTOMS

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, an... Read more about calcium deficiencysymptoms

CAUSES

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

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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