For treating hypocalcemia, you need to get rid of the causes and bring calcium levels back to normal. Read on, to know more on the causes and treatment of hypocalcemia.
Calcium is one of the most important minerals required by the human body. This mineral is essential for proper development of bones and teeth. Calcium helps in muscle contraction which indirectly helps in proper functioning of the heart muscles. This mineral also helps in lowering high blood pressure and prevention of diseases like osteoporosis. Calcium is found in a variety of food sources like milk, cheese, yogurt, broccoli, spinach, salmon, sardines, soy and orange juice. However, sometimes, due to some reasons, the levels of calcium in the body drop, giving rise to a condition known as hypocalcemia. Let us take a look at the detailed information on hypocalcemia.
An Overview on Hypocalcemia
Hypocalcemia is a condition that occurs when the serum calcium level in the blood drops severely. The calcium present in the body is either bound by protein, or is found in an iodized form. The deficiency of this iodized calcium leads to hypocalcemia. Therefore, it is a type of electrolyte imbalance or disturbance. Hypocalcemia can be caused due to several conditions like eating disorders or malnutrition, defective parathyroid hormone (PTH), use of magnesium containing medications or laxatives.
Secondly, certain conditions like acute pancreatitis, acute renal failure, chronic renal failure, hemochromatosis and tuberculosis can also cause the serum calcium levels to drop, resulting in hypocalcemia. Similarly, conditions like hypoalbuminemia, hyperphosphatemia, hypomagnesemia, can also be factors causing low levels of calcium. There are even cases of neonatal hypocalcemia in babies who have very low birth weight. Petechia, latent tetany, tendon reflexes, dermatitis, eczema, are the signs and symptoms of this condition.
Treatment of Hypocalcemia
The symptoms of this condition help in quick diagnosis of the condition. At the same time, diagnostic methods like blood tests to check the blood calcium levels, or blood phosphate levels also help in diagnosis of this condition. The doctor may also advise the person to undergo an X-ray and MRI test to find the underlying cause for hypocalcemia. The aim of hypocalcemia treatment is to eliminate the cause, and reverse the low levels of calcium in the body. The treatment depends on the type, i.e., whether it is acute hypocalcemia or chronic hypocalcemia.
The following are the standard treatments used for the same:
- In case of acute hypocalcemia, calcium gluconate or calcium chloride is administered intravenously, depending on the severity of the condition. Continuous ECG monitoring is undertaken in case of people suffering from cardiac arrhythmias.
- Similarly, a combination of calcium and vitamin D is also advised to reverse the low calcium levels in the body. This helps in preventing the condition from turning severe.
- For treating chronic hypocalcemia, it is essential to diagnose the factor causing it and treat it. For e.g., if it is caused due to renal failure, the doctor will advise proper treatment to treat renal failure. This will indirectly help in reversing hypocalcemia.
- PTH deficiency, which is one of the major causes of hypocalcemia can be treated by taking calcium supplements or oral calcium.
- Lastly, the doctor will advise the patient to make dietary changes for quick recovery from this condition. Increasing the amount of calcium rich foods in the diet, along with other treatment methods, is also helpful for treating hypocalcemia.
These were the treatment methods to treat acute and chronic hypocalcemia. However, it should be noted that this write-up is only meant for information purposes and should not be substituted for medical treatment. Taking quick and proper medical treatment is the only way to treat hypocalcemia. Take care!