Hypocalcemia is an electrolyte imbalance and is indicated by a low level of calcium in the blood. The normal adult value for calcium is 4.5-5.5 mEq/L. Calcium is important for healthy bones and teeth, as well as for normal muscle and nerve function. Normal blood calcium levels are maintained through the actions of parathyroid hormone (PTH), your kidneys and intestines. If your blood test results show hypocalcemia, your doctor may check your albumin level as well. If your albumin is low, your calcium level should be corrected for this. A corrected calcium level will be higher if the albumin is low.
Neurological Impairment. A low blood calcium level can affect the functions of the nervous system and result in mental confusion, memory loss, hallucinations and delusions, according to Merck. Some people may also seem depressed. These symptoms will immediately cease if blood calcium levels are increased.
Impaired Movement. Hypocalcemia can also cause changes in body movement, including muscle twitches and body tremors, Merck notes. When calcium levels drop dangerously low, muscle spasms can occur. In some cases, throat muscles can spasm, causing difficulty breathing. Newborn babies with low calcium levels may appear jittery, twitchy, or lethargic, according to the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh.
Seizures. Too-low calcium levels can also trigger seizures, Merck reports. Both babies and adults suffering from hypocalcemia are at risk of seizures because of the condition.
Sense of Touch. A person's sense of touch can be impaired by low blood calcium levels. Some people may feel as though the skin is tingling, burning, or is numb. This is most often felt in the fingers, feet, lips and tongue, Merck explains.
Heart Rhythm. Low calcium levels can lead to abnormal heart rhythms, according to Merck. As with other symptoms, you should see your doctor if you experience an abnormal heartbeat.
Calcium supplements, given by mouth, are often all that is needed to treat hypocalcemia. If a cause is identified, treating the disorder causing hypocalcemia or changing drugs may restore the calcium level. Once symptoms appear, calcium is usually given intravenously. Taking vitamin D supplements helps increase the absorption of calcium from the digestive tract.
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