Description, Causes and Risk Factors:
Calcium deficiency is a condition in which the body has an inadequate amount of calcium. Calcium is a mineral that is essential for many aspects of health, including the health of bones and teeth, and a normal heart rhythm. This mineral is also required for muscle contractions and relaxation, nerve and hormone function, and blood pressure regulation.
The major function of calcium is to act in co-operation with phosphorus to build and maintain healthy bones and teeth. Another important function is the storage of the mineral in the bones for use by the body. The calcium state of the bones is constantly fluctuating according to the diet and to the body's needs. About 99% is deposited in the bones and teeth. The remaining 1% is involved in the soft tissues, intracellular fluids and blood.
As well as compromising the health of your teeth and bones, low levels of Calcium can increase the risk of hypertension or high blood pressure. Severe deficiency can lead to abnormal heart beat, dementia and convulsions.
All humans lose bone density starting between the ages of 30 and 40. Excessive bone loss affects over 20 million people, mostly women who are 45 and older. A good accumulation of calcium in the bones at early stages in life is the best prevention of age-related bone loss and fractures.
When there is not enough calcium absorbed in the body, the output of estrogen decreases. As is the case with postmenopausal women, older men are often deficient in calcium. Other people who may be at risk for deficiencies are those who use antacids that contain aluminum; those who are alcohol drinkers; those on diets that are low calorie, high protein, or high fiber; those who are lactose intolerant; those who use cortisone; women who are pregnant and those who are basically inactive.
Drinking tannin rich beverages such as tea, green tea, leafy herbal teas, red wine, coffee and chocolate for up to 1 hour after a meal can interfere with the absorption of calcium from the meal or foods they are consuming.
Increased cholesterol levels.
Slow pulse rates.
Excessive irritability or nerves.
Numbness or tingling of the arms and/or legs.
Calcium deficiencies in the blood are often diagnosed as part of Routine blood tests. To diagnose calcium deficiency, blood is drawn, usually from a vein in the back of the hand or inside of the elbow and total serum calcium is determined. Normal blood calcium levels range from 8.5 to 10.2mg/dL of blood.
Prompt diagnosis and treatment of dietary calcium deficiency reduces the risk of developing serious complications, such as hypertension (high blood pressure) and osteoporosis. Treatments involve replacing the body's depleted calcium stores and may include:
Consuming adequate or increased amounts of calcium-rich foods, such as dairy products; green, leafy vegetables; seafood; nuts; and dried beans.
Consuming calcium-enriched foods, such as orange juice and bread.
Engaging in a regular, but not extremely strenuous exercise program.
Taking calcium supplements as recommended by your Licensed Healthcare provider. Supplementation may include vitamin D and phosphorous.
Adjusting or changing medications that are associated with calcium deficiencies, such as diuretics. You should not change or stop taking any medication without first consulting with your licensed health care provider.
NOTE: The above information is educational purpose. The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition.
DISCLAIMER: This information should not substitute for seeking responsible, professional medical care.
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