Learn about the causes of Calcium Deficiency & find a practitioner in Auckland, Hamilton, Bay of Plenty, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin to help you overcome Calcium Deficiency within New Zealand.
Calcium deficiency is caused by a lack of the mineral calcium in the diet. Calcium deficiency affects bone and teeth development, nerve and muscle function and blood clotting. Insufficient calcium in a woman's diet can lead to later life post-menopausal osteoporosis (brittle bone disease). Calcium deficiency in the elderly can also cause osteoporosis. A calcium rich diet is the best defence against calcium deficiency but it can also be treated with calcium supplements.
Causes of calcium deficiency
Calcium is important for the formation of bone, contraction of muscles,
clotting of blood and for maintaining a normal heart rhythm. The body
stores calcium but certain conditions can deplete those reserves which
increases the risk of deficiency.
The primary causes of calcium deficiency are as follows:
Low calcium intake – This is the most common cause of deficiency in children when adequate calcium intake is necessary for the development of bones.
Low vitamin D consumption – For adults over 50 this is the common cause of calcium deficiency.
Age – The body's ability to absorb calcium into the intestines decreases with age. The elderly absorb calcium 20-30% less than when they were young.
Kidney problems – Kidney diseases and disorders affect the kidneys ability to maintain normal calcium levels. Too much calcium in the blood and the body excretes it through urine; too little and less is excreted. If a disorder is present in the kidneys, this function is impaired causing a risk of deficiency.
Parathyroid gland abnormality – When the body detects low calcium in the blood it secretes a hormone from the parathyroid gland to mobilise calcium through bone resorption and stimulate the intestines to absorb more. If an abnormality is present in this gland, the body is incapable of borrowing sufficient calcium from the bones and absorbing it. This leads to a deficiency.
Symptoms of calcium deficiency
Calcium deficiency can result in a number of chronic conditions such as
osteoporosis (brittle bones) which causes bone fractures. Recognising
calcium deficiency symptoms early could help prevent these problems.
Some of the early signs of calcium deficiency include muscles cramps, eye twitching, headaches and jaw pain.
Other symptoms include:
In the first instance you should visit your GP who will ask questions about your health and diet. They may also perform a physical examination. The GP will then send you for a screening test to determine calcium levels in the blood although this will not show calcium levels in the bone. Further diagnostic tests such as an X-ray may be required.