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Calcium: What is it, Deficiency and Symptoms, Deficiency Treatment

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Calcium: What is it, Deficiency and Symptoms, Deficiency Treatment

Calcium is an essential mineral with important functions that cannot be synthesized in the body and must be obtained through food. Calcium is directly related to growth, development, nervous system, circulatory system and bone health. Therefore, calcium deficiency can cause some serious symptoms.

What is Calcium Deficiency?

Calcium is one of the most abundant vital minerals in the body. Calcium cannot be synthesized in the body. It must be taken through food or food supplements. An adult human contains 1-2 kg of calcium. While 99% of the total calcium in the human body is stored in bones, 1% is dissolved in intracellular and extracellular fluids.

It plays an important role in nerve conduction, muscle contraction, formation and protection of bones and teeth, blood clotting, and regulation of metabolism. While it helps the absorption of vitamin D, it participates in the structure of hormones and enzymes.

Not taking calcium, which is such a valuable mineral for the body, into the body for various reasons is called “calcium deficiency”. Consuming less than the daily amount of calcium will turn into calcium deficiency after a while and cause serious symptoms and diseases.

What are the symptoms of calcium deficiency?

Symptoms of calcium deficiency vary from person to person. Other symptoms of calcium deficiency include:

  • Nail color changes and nail breakage,
  • feeling of extreme fatigue,
  • heart rhythm disorders,
  • Anorexia,
  • Tingling and loss of sensation in the tips of fingers and toes,
  • muscle cramps,
  • Dry skin,
  • Epileptic seizures,
  • Insomnia,
  • Cataract,
  • Increased menstrual bloating,
  • Irritability,
  • Anxiety and personality disorders,
  • Depression,
  • Hair loss,
  • hallucinations,
  • Blood pressure problems.

How to Diagnose Calcium Deficiency?

One of the tests performed to diagnose various diseases is the calcium test. After the physical examination, your doctor may want to check your calcium levels based on your complaints and symptoms. For this reason, your doctor requests a blood test. In a blood test, a sample of blood is taken from a vein. The blood test measures the total amount of calcium in the blood. Although a blood test is generally preferred when evaluating calcium levels, a urine test can also be used in patients with suspected kidney stones and to determine whether the kidneys are performing their calcium filtering function.

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There are some points you should pay attention to before the test to measure your calcium values ​​accurately:

  1. During the examination, inform your doctor accurately about the medications and supplements you use, if any.
  2. If you are taking medications that affect calcium levels, such as lithium, thiazide diuretics, calcium-containing antacids, vitamin D supplements and calcium supplements, discontinue them with your doctor’s knowledge before the test.
  3. Do not consume calcium-rich foods before testing. Foods or drinks containing high amounts of calcium, especially milk and dairy products, can increase calcium levels in your blood and affect test results.

Your calcium level is determined by comparing your test results with a specific reference range. This reference range may vary from laboratory to laboratory. The reference range for blood calcium in adults is approximately 8.6 to 10.2 milligrams. Having a blood calcium level higher than the reference range is called “hypercalcemia” and having a low value is called “hypocalcemia”. Based on the blood test results, it is decided whether your calcium level is low or high and appropriate treatment is started.

What are the symptoms caused by calcium deficiency?

Calcium deficiency can affect the body in countless ways. Approximately 99% of the body’s calcium is stored in bones and teeth. It is not surprising that calcium deficiency symptoms are more common in these areas. Calcium is stored in bones in the body. When the amount of calcium in the blood decreases, calcium is transferred from the bones to the bloodstream. It may take a long time for stored calcium to decrease and therefore symptoms of calcium deficiency appear.

Calcium deficiency affects bones the most. Some people with calcium deficiency may develop osteopenia (low bone mineral density). In patients with osteopenia, bones are weak, weak, porous and prone to fracture. If left untreated, it can turn into osteoporosis, which is especially common in women.

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Calcium plays an important role in muscle contraction. One of the most serious symptoms of calcium deficiency is the inability of the heart muscle to contract. It requires strong heart muscles to perform a healthy heart function. Calcium deficiency reduces the number of contractions of the heart muscle, which can cause sudden heart attacks.

One of the important symptoms of calcium deficiency is seen in the teeth. Clinical studies have found a relationship between poor calcium intake and tooth loss. Due to the deficiency in the amount of calcium abundant in the tooth structure, the fragility of the teeth increases and tooth loss may occur.

What Causes Calcium Deficiency?

Many people are at risk for calcium deficiency. Various factors can be the source of calcium deficiency:

  • Not getting enough calcium for a long time
  • Use of diuretic drugs that reduce the absorption of calcium
  • Some medications, such as phenytoin, phenobarbital, and rifampin
  • Hormonal changes in women
  • genetic factors
  • Kidney failure
  • Insufficient vitamin D intake
  • Various infections
  • Stress, worry, anxiety
  • Intense and heavy exercises
  • Intestinal problems such as diarrhea and constipation
  • Cancer
  • Excessive caffeine and alcohol consumption
  • intense mercury exposure
  • Menopause
  • celiac disease
  • Inflammatory bowel disease,
  • Eating disorders such as bulimia, anorexia
  • Inflammation of the pancreas (Pancreatitis)

Who is at Risk for Calcium Deficiency?

People with chronic conditions such as gastrointestinal disorders, pancreatitis, kidney failure, liver failure, anxiety disorders, people with vitamin D, folate and magnesium deficiency, and people who do not include calcium-rich foods in their diet and follow vegan diets are at serious risk of calcium deficiency.

Who is at Risk for Calcium Deficiency?

People with chronic conditions such as gastrointestinal disorders, pancreatitis, kidney failure, liver failure, anxiety disorders, people with vitamin D, folate and magnesium deficiency, and people who do not include calcium-rich foods in their diet and follow vegan diets are at serious risk of calcium deficiency.

How is Calcium Deficiency Treated?

Calcium deficiency is easy to treat. It usually involves adding more calcium to your diet. With your doctor’s advice, you can use calcium supplements and regain the calcium you lack with calcium-rich foods. Do not forget that calcium supplements used uncontrollably, without the supervision of a physician, may disrupt the balance of metabolism and cause many disorders, especially kidney stones. Regular calcium injections can be administered to patients whose calcium levels are extremely low and whose calcium levels do not increase with calcium supplements and nutrition. The patient is followed regularly for 1-3 months.

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Calcium Supplements

Calcium supplements are sold in syrup, tablet and chewable forms. When taking calcium supplements, attention should be paid to the type of calcium, the amount of calcium required daily, and its interaction with other vitamins. Not all types of calcium are absorbed in the same way in the body. When purchasing a calcium supplement, check the label to find out the type of calcium it contains. For example, calcium citrate can be taken before or after a meal, while calcium carbonate is recommended to be taken during the meal to ensure that it is broken down by stomach acids and absorbed into the body.

The daily amount of calcium varies according to age. The daily calcium requirement for newborns is approximately 200-1000 mg, for adolescents aged 9-18 it is 1300-3000 mg, for those aged 18-50 it is 1000-2500 mg, and for adults over 50 it is 1200-2000 mg. Dividing the daily amount of calcium determined according to your age and needs into 2-3 times a day facilitates calcium absorption.

After taking calcium supplements, attention should be paid to its interactions with drugs that reduce absorption. Some antibiotics used for blood pressure control, such as beta blockers, aluminum-containing antacids, estrogen medications, diuretics, and fluoroquinolones or tetracyclines, interact negatively with calcium supplements.

What are the Foods Rich in Calcium?

In order to prevent calcium deficiency or to increase the effectiveness of its treatment, it is recommended to consume calcium-rich foods. The most well-known calcium-rich foods are:

  • Egg
  • Milk and milk products
  • Spinach
  • Sardines, salmon, anchovies, herring, cod, tuna
  • Onion
  • Chickpeas
  • Cabbage
  • Broccoli
  • Celery
  • Peanut,
  • Sesame
  • Almond
  • Bean
  • Fig
  • flaxseed
  • Tahini and molasses

If you have at least one or more of the symptoms that occur in calcium deficiency, which is very important for the body, you may suspect calcium deficiency. Calcium deficiency can cause serious illnesses. Therefore, do not forget that you should contact healthcare institutions as soon as possible for correct diagnosis and treatment.

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