Suffering from muscle spasms and cramps? You might have calcium deficiency

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Uma [name changed], a 35-year-old pregnant woman, was rushed to the hospital after suffering from a nosebleed. Upon testing, her blood pressure and parathyroid hormone (PTH) levels were high, and her calcium levels were low. The doctor diagnosed preeclampsia, a disorder that can be associated with calcium deficiency during pregnancy. Uma was treated with intravenous anti-hypertensive drugs to lower her blood pressure. She was also advised to take calcium to overcome deficiency and regular follow-up on PTH levels to avoid further complications.  

Calcium is most widely associated with the maintenance of healthy bones and teeth, but it plays a much bigger role in the normal functioning of nerves, muscles and clotting of blood.  Lack of calcium can result in thinning of bones, leading to conditions like osteoporosis. 

Adequate dietary calcium intake is essential to maintain bone mineral density. In women, meeting the requisite calcium requirement is particularly important during pregnancy and lactation since the foetus derives calcium from the mother’s body stores. Calcium is vital for the secretion of calcium-rich breast milk and the growth of bones and teeth in the foetus. Calcium deficiency in pregnant and lactating women makes them more vulnerable to osteoporosis. 

Early-stage calcium deficiency may cause muscle aches, cramps, spasms, pain in the thighs and arms, brittle nails, and eczema.,,  Prolonged calcium deficiency may lead to serious ailments like rickets, osteopenia (brittle bones), and even osteoporosis (porous bones).,, 

Significance of calcium supplementation 

The best sources of calcium include dairy products like milk, yoghurt, and cheese, and vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, avocado, and kale. However, in cases of insufficient calcium intake, the doctor may recommend additional calcium supplements. 

Some factors that doctors usually consider while prescribing calcium supplements

  • Amount of calcium: Calcium requirements change throughout the lifetime. The doctor will decide the right dose and type of supplement depending on the patient’s profile and tolerability
  • Type of supplement: Calcium supplements are available in many different forms such as tablets, capsules, chews, liquids, and powders. The doctor will prescribe the right supplement as per the patient’s comfort
  • Other medications: Depending on your other medications, the doctor will recommend the type of calcium and the preferred time of intake

It is important to have an optimum level of calcium in the body at all times. If you feel you aren’t getting enough calcium from your diet, reach out to your doctor who can recommend a suitable calcium supplement based on your needs.



Views expressed above are the author’s own.


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