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Hypocalcemia

Hypocalcemia is an abnormally low level of calcium in the blood. It may be caused by vitamin D deficiency, kidney failure, acute pancreatitis, or insufficient magnesium and protein in the blood.

Other causes of hypocalcemia include low levels of parathyroid hormone (hypoparathyroidism), malnutrition, and parathyroid surgery.

Symptoms often do not occur with mild hypocalcemia. As hypocalcemia becomes more severe, the following symptoms may develop:

  • Abnormal heart rhythms
  • Muscle cramps, muscle twitching, or seizures
  • Inability to detect touch accompanied by burning, pricking, tickling, or tingling sensation (paresthesia) of the hands, feet, lips, and tongue

Hypocalcemia is treated by determining and treating the cause of the low blood calcium. Oral or intravenous calcium, magnesium, and vitamin D are given to restore the blood level to normal.

Last Revised: September 25, 2012

Author: Healthwise Staff

Medical Review: E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Christopher G. Wood, MD, FACS - Urology, Oncology

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