Your body needs calcium to function properly. It keeps your teeth and bones strong, it helps your muscles move and it helps your heartbeat. You can get calcium from a variety of foods or from one of the many supplements available. Your calcium levels can become too low if there is not enough in your diet, you have trouble absorbing calcium or if there is an unusually high loss of calcium in the urine. If your body experiences rapid losses of calcium, called hypocalcaemia, then it will take calcium from your bones in order to maintain proper calcium levels in the blood.
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Incidence of Symptoms
In most cases, a low calcium level that is due to dietary deficiency produces no signs at all. If your calcium deficiency is due to a medical problem or treatment, such as renal failure, surgical removal of the stomach and/or the use of certain types of diuretics, then the following symptoms may occur.
Since calcium must be present for nerve signals to travel through the body and for your muscles to contract, then too low of a level can lead to numbness and tingling in various areas of the body, muscle cramps, convulsions, lethargy and mental confusion.
The right level of calcium must be present if order for your heart to beat normally. Low levels of calcium may lead to irregular abnormal heart rhythms, congestive heart failure, hypotension and even death.
Osteoporosis and osteopenia can often occur with no symptoms, but results in part from inadequate calcium intake. It is a disease that is characterised by porous and fragile bones. It is a serious public health problem for more than 10 million Americans. This condition increases your risk of fractures of the hip, vertebrae, wrist, pelvis, ribs and other bones.
If you suspect you might be suffering from low levels of calcium, it is important to see your doctor. You need to be careful about taking calcium supplements, as too much calcium can be just as dangerous. Your doctor can perform a blood test that checks the level of calcium in the body that is not stored in the bones. There is also a urine test that checks the amount of calcium that is passed from the body. A bone density test can check if the bones are beginning to become frail due to a loss of calcium. Your health care provider can then determine any medical treatment or dietary supplementation that is necessary.
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