What is hypocalcemia?

It is a hydroelectrolytic disorder consisting of a lack of calcium in the blood, lower than 8.5 mg/dL. It can be of two types depending on its origin: by reduction of ionized calcium or by deficiency of parathyroid hormone. If the disorder is prolonged, it can lead to malformation of the bones, which can become brittle, i.e. prone to fracture.

What are the symptoms of hypocalcemia?

The most common symptoms of hypocalcemia are paresthesias (numbness and tingling of the fingers), facial or carpal spasms, hyperactive reflexes, irritability, among others.

What are the causes of hypocalcemia?

There are many pathologies that can lead to hypocalcemia, among which the following stand out:

  • Hypoparathyroidism
  • Acute pancreatitis
  • Vitamin D deficiency
  • Di George’s syndrome
  • Chronic alcoholism
  • Hypoalbuminemia
  • Hyperphosphatemia
  • Chronic alcoholism

Can hypocalcemia be prevented?

To prevent hypocalcemia, it is advisable to follow a diet rich in dairy products (milk, yogurt, cheese), green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, some fish, such as sardines or salmon, and vitamin D-rich cereals. Calcium supplements may also help prevent hypocalcemia, but can only be taken if recommended by your doctor.

How is hypocalcemia treated?

Acute, symptomatic hypocalcemia or very low calcium levels should be treated by intravenous calcium administration. During the process, it is important to monitor the patient’s vital signs, as arrhythmias may occur.

In the case of chronic hypocalcemia, treatment consists of oral calcium and vitamin D supplementation to maintain normal blood calcium levels. In order to control it, weekly check-ups should be performed and, once stabilized, every 1-3 months.