The Symptoms of Hypocalcemia: A Silent Disease
The symptoms of hypocalcemia often go unnoticed. Learn more about this disease and its symptoms in our article so that you'll know when to see your doctor.
Hypocalcemia is a disease that mostly affects women. It’s caused by a calcium deficiency in the blood and has a ton of symptoms besides just osteoporosis. The symptoms of hypocalcemia include tingling in the arms and legs, difficulty concentrating, muscle pain, and even heart palpitations.
The worst part of this illness is that it can impact your quality of life without it being clear why. That’s why we want to keep you informed and talk about some of the basic aspects of this disease.
Remember: if you have any doubts or discomfort, you ask for your doctor’s advice. A simple blood test can quickly diagnose this disease.
Let’s take a look at the facts.
What is hypocalcemia?
Hypocalcemia is a condition where you don’t have enough of one vital element in your blood: calcium.
We need calcium for more than strong teeth and bones. Our body also uses it in processes responsible for our overall health and well-being.
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- Calcium helps certain hormones carry out their functions in the kidneys and intestines.
- This mineral is essential for blood to clot properly.
- Calcium is also important for muscle contraction and sending nerve impulses.
- It also helps activate a lot of the key enzymes in the body.
- Cellular membranes use it to promote the exchange of oxygen and nutrients.
- This mineral boosts absorption of essential vitamins like B12.
The symptoms of hypocalcemia
- Stress and anxiety. You might start having problems meeting your daily responsibilities. You find it hard to concentrate, feel confused or upset…
- Another one of the most common symptoms is muscle tingling. It can happen in the face or extremities. It almost feels like you have ants under your skin.
- Fatigue, muscle cramps, numbness in the hands.
- Tooth problems, like weakened teeth.
- Brittle hair, possibly leading to alopecia.
- The symptoms of hypocalcemia also show up in the skin, especially in the form of dry skin, eczema, and dermatitis.
- Your nails will also be more brittle.
What causes hypocalcemia?
One of the most common causes of hypocalcemia is a vitamin D deficiency. One thing this deficiency affects are your parathyroid glands, which means your body will have a hard time regulating its calcium metabolism.
There are many different causes that only a specialist can diagnose:
- Chronic kidney failure.
- Magnesium deficiency.
- Certain medications (diuretics, hormone treatments, and antibiotics) can also cause problems with calcium synthesis in the body.
- Having too much caffeine or too many carbonated beverages also increases your risk.
How do you treat hypocalcemia?
Hypocalcemia treatment is something only your doctor can determine after evaluating your individual needs.
But, in general, we treat this disease with oral calcium and vitamin D supplements.
- The goal is to keep calcium at normal levels. The problem with calcium supplements is that they can lead to kidney stones if you use them too long.
Can you prevent hypocalcemia?
Before we get into this, we want to make one thing clear: never take calcium supplements without medical supervision. Only your doctor can decide if you need to take that approach. Self-diagnosis and treatment are dangerous and never a good idea.
Because you have no way of knowing your calcium levels without a doctor’s tests, you shouldn’t run the risk of trying to increase self-diagnosed low calcium levels with supplements.
It’s always best to see your doctor for a diagnosis, and so that they can find a treatment that meets your individual needs.
- We also want to point out that milk isn’t the only source of calcium. You can get it from legumes like lentils and chickpeas too. Eggs, nuts, and broccoli are also foods with good levels of calcium.
- At the end of the day, it’s really about eating a healthy, balanced diet with all the essential nutrients.
- To prevent hypocalcemia, it’s important to keep up your reserves of vitamin D and magnesium.
- Don’t forget to exercise. Going for a walk and getting some sunshine will help your body synthesize its own vitamin D.
Once again: always consult your doctor if you’re experiencing any of the symptoms of hypocalcemia. A doctor will be able to tell you if you need to start taking supplements.
Also remember to take good care of your thyroid. It plays an important role in the way your body uses calcium.