All about calcium deficiency (hypocalcemia) – What is calcium deficiency?

The need for calcium varies throughout life and therefore it is good to keep track of what recommended intake applies to you.

Our body consists of about 1-2 percent calcium and 99 percent of all calcium in the body is found in bones and teeth.

Calcium is found in most foods and most is found in dairy products, leafy vegetables and nuts Most people get enough calcium by eating a balanced and varied diet.

Calcium is the most common mineral in the body and one of the most important as the body needs calcium to build and repair bones and teeth, it is needed for nerves, muscles and heart.

Our body consists of about 1-2 percent calcium and 99 percent of all calcium in the body is found in bones and teeth.

Calcium deficiency – cause

The main absorption of calcium takes place in the small intestine and the level of calcium in the blood is carefully controlled by the body. When the calcium levels in the blood drop (hypocalcemia), calcium is released from the skeleton to apply the level to normal. As calcium levels in the blood (hypercalcaemia) rise, the extra calcium is stored in the skeleton or disappears into urine and faeces.

Prolonged lack of calcium can cause osteoporosis. In children it can lead to growth inhibition.

So much calcium you need

We need different calcium in different stages of life. Below is the Swedish Food Agency’s recommended intake daily for calcium.

  • Infants 6-11 months 540 milligrams
  • Children 1-5 years 600 milligrams
  • Children 6-9 years 700 milligrams
  • Children, teenagers 10-17 years 900 milligrams
  • Adult 800 milligrams
  • Pregnant and breast-feeding 900 milligrams

The need for calcium is great during childhood and adolescence as the skeleton grows rapidly. It has also been seen that boys aged 9-13 and girls aged 9-18 actually run a greater risk of getting calcium deficiency as it can be difficult to get the recommended daily intake through the diet alone. Your skeleton continues to grow to the age of 25 and the need for calcium then becomes about the same except for women who become pregnant or breastfeeding. Then the need for calcium increases instead. With increasing age, the absorption of calcium deteriorates, which means that the need here also increases.

Common risk factors for calcium deficiency

Your intake and uptake of calcium can be affected by several factors and if you recognize any of the risk factors then it may be worthwhile to have extra control that you receive the recommended amount of calcium.

Age The bone mass breaks down naturally as we age and therefore we need more calcium as we get older. The body’s ability to absorb calcium from the intestines also deteriorates as you get older.

Menopause At menopause, the ability to absorb calcium from the intestines is impaired, which increases the risk of you suffering from calcium deficiency.

Missing menstruation Even for younger women who for various reasons may suffer from missed menstruation for extended periods of time, there is an increased risk of calcium deficiency.

Diet The majority get their intake of calcium via milk and dairy products. If, for various reasons, you opt out of these, you should be extra careful about the intake of calcium.

Vitamin D deficiency Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium. It also means that if there is a lack of vitamin D, the risk of calcium deficiency also increases.

Disease Various diseases such as kidney failure and pancreatic inflammation can cause calcium deficiency.

Medicines Some drugs appear to help lower calcium levels in the body. ‘

Lifestyle factors Smoking inhibits skeletal growth, and so does a lack of regular exercise. A healthy lifestyle promotes the growth of calcium and prevents the risk of calcium deficiency.

Symptoms of calcium deficiency – do I have calcium deficiency?

At an early stage, you may not feel any symptoms of calcium deficiency. However, if the condition worsens, it can develop into a condition called osteopenia, low bone mass, and osteoporosis.

Common symptoms of calcium deficiency

  • Numbness and tingling in the arms, legs and face.
  • Osteoporosis.
  • Hypertension.
  • Insomnia.
  • Bleeding gums.
  • Worse teeth than before.
  • Fragile and weak nails.
  • Muscle tension and cramps.
  • PMS and menstrual pain.
  • Hair loss.
  • Inhibited growth.

If you suspect you have a calcium deficiency, you should check this out to ensure that you are getting the right amount of calcium and can counteract any consequential illnesses. It is always important to go to the bottom with the cause of the calcium deficiency.

Therefore, a blood calcium test is done

A blood calcium test can be done for a variety of reasons.

Therefore, a blood calcium test is done:

  • To check for parathyroid or kidney problems, certain types of cancer and skeletal problems, or pancreatitis (pancreatitis).
  • To find a cause of an abnormal electrocardiogram (ECG) test.
  • After a kidney transplant.
  • For symptoms such as muscle cramps, spasms and twitching and tingling in the fingers and around the mouth to see if the symptoms can be caused by a very low level of calcium in the blood.
  • In symptoms such as general weakness, lack of energy or appetite, nausea and vomiting, constipation, if the body loses a lot of water, stomach pain or skeletal pain to see if the symptoms can be caused by a very high level of calcium in the blood.
  • As part of a routine blood test.

If I have a high value – what can it be?

High levels of calcium can have many causes.

Some causes of high calcium levels are:

  • Hyperparathyroidism (excessive parathyroid hormone production).
  • Cancer (especially skeletal cancer).
  • Tuberculosis.
  • Skeletal diseases such as Paget’s disease.
  • Prolonged bed position.

If I have a low value – what can it be?

Even low values ​​of calcium can be caused by a variety of causes.

Some causes of low calcium levels are:

  • Low level of the blood protein albumin (hypoalbuminemia).
  • Hypoparathyroidism (production of parathyroid hormone too low).
  • High levels of phosphate in the blood (caused by, for example, renal failure or laxative)
  • Osteomalacia, rickets or malnutrition caused by diseases such as celiac disease, pancreatitis, and alcoholism.

Treatment of calcium deficiency

First and foremost, it is about obtaining the recommended amount of calcium and this is especially true in certain disease states such as osteoporosis, for example. Calcium is found in most foods and most are in milk products, leafy vegetables and nuts. Vegetable alternatives to milk are often enriched with calcium.

Most people get enough calcium by eating a balanced and varied diet. If you do not get enough, you may need calcium supplements as a supplement. In some cases, you may need to take a prescription calcium preparation to make sure your calcium levels are high enough.

Foods rich in calcium

  • Milk
  • Cheese
  • Dairy products
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Almond
  • Mackerel with legs
  • Nettles
  • Rose hip

In order to keep the skeleton strong and healthy, calcium is actually the most important nutrient. If you get too little calcium, you are more likely to suffer from diseases such as osteoporosis. By keeping track of how much you should get in your diet and eating a diet that is rich in calcium, you actively counteract the risk of calcium deficiency and increase the chances of having a good and oh so important skeletal health.

Source: Werlabs, Practical Medicine

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