You may not think of calcium as an exciting nutrient, but it’s essential for good health. Your body needs calcium for strong bones and teeth, healthy blood clotting, proper muscle function, and more. Most people get the calcium they need from their diet. But some people don’t get enough calcium, and they may need to take supplements. If you don’t get enough calcium, you may have a condition called calcium deficiency.
Calcium deficiency can lead to health problems, such as weak bones, osteoporosis, and kidney stones. Calcium deficiency is rare in the United States, but it’s more common in other parts of the world. If you think you might have calcium deficiency, talk to your doctor.
What are the early signs of calcium deficiency? Calcium deficiency can cause a variety of symptoms. The early symptoms of calcium deficiency are often subtle and can be mistaken for other conditions. The most common early symptom of calcium deficiency is muscle cramps. You may feel a sharp pain in your muscles, or your muscles may feel tight and spasm. Calcium deficiency can also cause tingling in your hands and feet. You may feel a pins-and-needles sensation, or your skin may feel numb. Other early symptoms of calcium deficiency include: Fatigue, Depression, Poor appetite, Dry skin, Brittle nails. These symptoms can be caused by other conditions, so it’s important to talk to your doctor if you’re concerned about calcium deficiency.
What are the risk factors for calcium deficiency? Certain conditions and lifestyle choices can increase your risk for calcium deficiency. Risk factors for calcium deficiency include:
What are the complications of calcium deficiency? Calcium deficiency can lead to health problems, such as:
How is calcium deficiency diagnosed?
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. They’ll also do a physical exam. To diagnose calcium deficiency, your doctor may order a blood test. This test measures the level of calcium in your blood. Your doctor may also order a bone density test. This test uses X-rays to measure the density of your bones.
How is calcium deficiency treated?
Calcium deficiency is treated by increasing calcium intake. This can be done through diet or supplements.
- Diet: You can increase calcium intake by eating calcium-rich foods, such as dairy products, leafy green vegetables, and fish.
- Supplements: You may need to take calcium supplements if you can’t get enough calcium from your diet. Calcium supplements come in different forms, such as tablets, capsules, and liquids.
Your doctor will also treat any underlying conditions that are causing calcium deficiency. If you have osteoporosis, your doctor may prescribe medication to help prevent bone loss.
How can I prevent calcium deficiency?
You can prevent calcium deficiency by getting enough calcium in your diet. The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for calcium is: 1000 mg/day for adults aged 19-50 1200 mg/day for adults aged 51 and older You can get calcium from your diet by eating calcium-rich foods, such as dairy products, leafy green vegetables, and fish. You may also need to take calcium supplements if you can’t get enough calcium from your diet. If you’re at risk for calcium deficiency, your doctor may recommend that you take a calcium supplement. They may also recommend that you take a vitamin D supplement. Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium.