What is Hypocalcemia?

Hypocalcemia is a condition in which the calcium levels in the blood are low. It can have a range of serious symptoms, such as muscle cramps, confusion, and fatigue, and can be a medical emergency. Treatment for hypocalcemia involves replenishing the body's calcium levels by eating more calcium-rich foods and increasing vitamin D intake.

Causes of Hypocalcemia

Hypocalcemia can be caused by a variety of conditions, including:

  • Kidney failure
  • Folic acid and vitamin B12 deficiency
  • Pancreatitis
  • Severe depletion of magnesium in the body
  • Hypoparathyroidism, an autoimmune disorder
  • Malabsorption, an inability to absorb nutrients from food
  • Tumor lysis syndrome, a complication of chemotherapy

Symptoms of Hypocalcemia

The symptoms of hypocalcemia can vary depending on the severity and underlying cause, but they can include:

  • Muscle cramps, especially in the hands, feet, and face
  • Joint pain or stiffness
  • Abnormal heart rhythms
  • Memory loss or confusion
  • Fear or anxiety
  • Fatigue and depression
  • Irregular breathing patterns
  • Seizures
  • Numbness or tingling in the face, fingers, and toes

Treatment for Hypocalcemia

Hypocalcemia can be treated by replenishing the body's calcium levels. This often involves eating more calcium-rich foods, including dairy products, legumes, dark green leafy vegetables, salmon, and sardines. Increasing vitamin D intake can also help the body absorb the calcium it needs. In severe cases, a doctor may prescribe calcium and vitamin D supplements or an intravenous infusion of calcium.