Calcium is one of the most important elements in the body of a living organism. While it is present in many foods, you need to consume a certain amount of calcium everyday in order to build and maintain strong teeth and bones as well as sustain healthy communication between the body and the brain. Calcium is also important for the nerves and heart, and plays a role in the clotting of blood. If your body loses a lot of calcium suddenly, which is a medical condition called hypocalcemia, you are bound to exhibit low calcium symptoms.
What Causes Low Calcium in Your Body?
There are quite a number of causes of hypocalcemia. They include:
- Vitamin D and magnesium deficiency
- Chronic renal failure
- Blood disorders and specific types of leukemia
- Biphosphate therapy, referring the drugs for treating high levels of calcium in the blood and those used for osteoporosis
- Tumor lysis syndrome, which happens after chemotherapy whereby your body breaks down the tumor cells too fast
- Caffeine, phosphates and some antibiotics can make it hard for your body to absorb calcium
- Diuretics, fluorides, estrogen replacement therapy, glucose, laxative, magnesium and insulin
8 Indicating Low Calcium Symptoms
Now that you know what causes low calcium, here are some of the signs that you might be a victim of low calcium or hypocalcemia.
1. Muscle Cramps
The first casualty of calcium deficiency is usually your muscles. You might experience muscle cramps and aches, especially on the arms, thighs and underarms. The symptoms will, more often than not, be apparent when you are moving around. If you suddenly start experiencing, you will feel aches and pains in your muscles, which is probably a result of insufficient calcium in your body.
If you do not include enough calcium in your diet, you might experience insomnia. In some cases, you might fall asleep but only briefly before the insomnia sets in. If you are having sleepless nights and you do not know where the problem is, you might want to check on your calcium levels.
Osteoporosis is a disease characterized by fragile and porous bones. It usually has no apparent symptoms but is a serious condition that affects more than 10 million people in the United Sates alone. The condition increases your chances of fracturing your hip, wrist, vertebrae, ribs, pelvis and other bones.
4. Low Bone Density
Low bone density is one of the low calcium symptoms you need to look out for. Calcium is used in the mineralization of bones, which helps keep them strong with age. Low calcium levels affect the density of your bones and put you at risk of getting fractures and osteoporosis.
5. Weak and Brittle Nails
Your nails, just like your bones, need calcium to maintain their integrity. Lack of calcium can make your nails weak and susceptible to breakage.
6. Dental Problems
About 99% of the calcium present in your body is found in the bones and teeth. If your calcium levels take a nosedive, you can expect your teeth to be affected. You will become susceptible to tooth decay and tooth aches. Susceptibility to periodontal disease is also increased when calcium levels are low. Calcium deficiency also causes defective and delayed teething in kids. This is one of the key low calcium symptoms in kids.
7. Premenstrual Cramps
Calcium deficiency in women can be a grueling experience. This is because it affects their menstrual cycle. If your periods are accompanied by excessive pain, it may be a sign of calcium deficiency. It is not yet clear how calcium helps relieve menstrual pain, but it may be the role it plays in muscle contraction and relaxation. Insufficient levels of calcium in the body are also linked to excessive bleeding and irregular menstruation. Calcium also plays a key role in the development of the ovarian hormones and the uterus.
If you are calcium deficient, you are likely to feel very weak due to its effect on the bones and muscles. It can also cause insomnia, mental derangements and fear, hence increasing stress levels and fatigue. Along with looking pale, you might also feel lazy and tired all the time. Women who develop calcium deficiency after giving birth are also prone to fatigue. They are also likely to experience extreme exhaustion, poor concentration and lack of breast milk. For this reason, it is important to give women who are pregnant a regular supply of 1000–1200 mg calcium per day.
When to See a Doctor
If you are experiencing low calcium symptoms, you might also experience hyperparathyroidism symptoms. You can treat this by supplementing with calcium. However, you should call your doctor when the following happens:
- Extreme constipation lasting 2 or 3 days that cannot be relieved by laxatives
- Excessive vomiting about 4 or 5 times a day
- Nausea that affects your appetite
- Excessive sleepiness and confusion
- Diarrhea that cannot be relieved by talking medication
- Irritability or muscle twitching
- Excessive urination