Low blood calcium - Hypocalcemia definition - What is hypocalcemia?

Feb 2014  Low blood calcium - Hypocalcemia definition - What is hypocalcemia?
What is hypocalcemia? Hypocalcemia is low blood calcium levels. The blood serum calcium concentration levels are influenced by the presence of serum phosphorus, parathyroid hormone (PTH), and vitamin D.
The most common cause of hypocalcemia is hypoparathyroidism. Other causes are chronic kidney disease and vitamin D deficiency. Neonatal hypocalcaemia is likely to occur when the birth weight is less than 1500 grams or the gestational age is less than 32 weeks.

Parathyroid hormone (PTH) regulates the calcium levels in the serum. In response to low free ion levels in the serum, PTH promotes renal absorption of the mineral. PTH also induces the production of vitamin D (calcitriol) and release of the mineral from the bones. The calcitriol increases the intestinal absorption of the mineral. Hypoparathyroidism commonly occurs due to neck surgery and in rare cases due to autoimmune destruction of the parathyroid glands.

Eating disorders, decreased sun exposure, intestinal malabsorption, defective Vitamin D metabolism and acute renal failure can affect the active vitamin D availability in the serum and cause the disorder. As kidney has a major role in maintaining calcium levels by resorption, any damage to its normal function causes low serum levels of the mineral.

Initially, hypocalcemia causes numbness on hands and feet, numbness around mouth and lips and convulsions. Hypocalcemia symptoms include neuromuscular irritability, tetany, bronchospasm, laryngospasm, cardiac arrhythmias, petechiae and purpura. Hypocalcemia treatment and its management include administering intravenous calcium gluconate/chloride and maintenance doses of the mineral and vitamin D to stop possible decline.

Web definitions

1.wordnetweb.princeton.edu. defines hypocalcemia as "abnormally low level of calcium in the blood; associated with hypoparathyroidism or kidney malfunction or vitamin D deficiency".

2.thefreedictionary.com defines hypocalcemia as "a low blood calcium level, occurs when the concentration of free calcium ions in the blood falls below 4.0 mg/dL (dL = one tenth of a liter). The normal concentration of free calcium ions in the blood serum is 4.0-6.0 mg/dL".

3.According to merriam-webster.com "Definition of HYPOCALCEMIA: a deficiency of calcium in the blood".

Current topic in nutritional deficiency diseases:
Low blood calcium and hypocalcemia

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