Hypocalcemia is a lower level of calcium in the blood than is normal. Calcium is a mineral that is needed for bone health, muscle movement, and healthy nerves.
An illness or treatment can change how the body absorbs, balances, or keeps calcium. This can lead to hypocalcemia. Calcium levels in the body are affected by a number of things such as:
Factors that may interfere with hormones, which can lead to hypocalcemia include:
Factors that may make it harder to get calcium into your body:
Other factors that may increase the chances of hypocalcemia:
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Early hypocalcemia may not have any symptoms. When symptoms do occur, they may include:
You will be asked about your symptoms and past health. A physical exam will be done. Blood tests will show the level of calcium.
Other tests that may be done to look for causes or complications include:
The goal of treatment is to get calcium back to normal levels. Underlying causes may need to be treated first.
Supplements may be given through an IV or with pills. Supplements may include:
Your doctor may also advise you to increase your intake of calcium and vitamin D. You may be referred to a dietitian.
To help reduce the chance of hypocalcemia:
Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians
The American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists
The Canadian Society of Endocrinology and Metabolism
Cooper M, Gittoes N. Diagnosis and management of hypocalcaemia. BMJ. 2008;336(7656):1298-1302.
Hypocalcemia. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115897/Hypocalcemia . Updated June 27, 2017. Accessed March 26, 2018.
Hypocalcaemia. Patient website. Available at: https://patient.info/doctor/hypocalcaemia. Updated December 23, 2015. Accessed March 26, 2018.
Last reviewed February 2019 by EBSCO Medical Review Board
Daniel A. Ostrovsky, MD
Last Updated: 2/12/2019