How Calcium Deficiency can be a Bane for your Bones- Symptoms, Prevention and Treatment
Calcium is a very essential mineral that plays a crucial role in the body and a calcium deficiency can result in a number of problems. This mineral is essential for building strong bones and teeth. It helps in maintaining normal heart rhythm, powers muscle contractions and enables relaxation of muscles too.
It regularizes hormone function and regulates blood pressure. Very simply put, this mineral affects very important functions in your body. It ensures that you are able to function optimally every day and a calcium deficiency upsets the equilibrium of these functions in the body. There are 2 types of Calcium deficiencies:
Dietary Calcium Deficiency
This particular deficiency exists in people who are getting insufficient calcium intake. It depletes the storage of calcium in their bones which in turn weakens them and leads to osteoporosis or bone degeneration. This increases the risk of fractures and can also cause a “humped” back. The symptoms of this type of Calcium deficiency are:
- Bone pain or tenderness
- Back or neck pain
- Bone fractures resulting from minor/ no trauma
- Stooped/humped posture
- Loss of height
This is the second type and is very different from dietary calcium deficiency. It is related to low levels of calcium in the blood. While dietary calcium deficiency is caused due to insufficient intake of the mineral, hypocalcaemia is generally caused by some medications or by certain medical conditions such as hyperparathyroidism.
In Hypocalcaemia, the body starts pulling in calcium from the bones to make up for low levels of calcium in the blood, and uses it to support proper functioning of the heart, brain, nerves & muscles. The calcium deficiency symptoms that are caused by Hypocalcaemia are:
- Muscle cramps
- Large bruised areas
- Poor appetite
- Bleeding just under the skin which resembles tiny red dots
Though these deficiencies are different in terms of their causes and symptoms, they both have the potential to trigger life-threatening diseases and the individual who suffers from calcium deficiency may have indications like:
- Hypertension/high blood pressure
- Chest pain
- Abnormal heartbeat
- Difficulty with breathing
Being able to deal effectively with calcium deficiency is a lot about understanding what actually interferes with absorption of this mineral. Here are some factors that can cause this interference:
- Whenever excess amounts of protein, sugar or fat combine with calcium, it forms an insoluble compound which the body is unable to absorb
- Insufficient intake of Vitamin D
- Excessive levels of magnesium or phosphorus which hinder absorption of calcium
- Excessive quantities of phytic acid that is present in some unleavened grains can also form an insoluble compound that cannot be absorbed by the body
- In some cases, the oxalic acid that is present in soy beans, cashews, almonds, beet greens spinach and chocolate might prevent proper absorption of the mineral. However, any standard diet that includes these foods will generally not cause this to occur
- Every person’s body functions in a different manner and there are times when factors like emotional and physical stress, depression, excitement, lack of exercise might interfere with absorption of calcium.
- In order for calcium to be assimilated properly in the body, acid is necessary. In the absence of this acid, the mineral does not get dissolved and is not available as required by the body. Instead, it might get deposited in tissues and on joints and cause disturbances in the body
Calcium Deficiency Treatment
The treatment of calcium deficiency will be dependent on which type of deficiency you suffer from. Since there can be different causative factors, this too will be taken into account when the doctor prescribes a particular line of treatment. In most cases, it’s a simple alteration in diet or addition of certain supplements that will do the trick. In order to function properly, Calcium has to be accompanied by phosphorus, magnesium, boron as well as Vitamin D, C, A, K & probably E, all in the right proportions.
Once your doctor has identified what is causing the calcium deficiency, you might be given a combination of calcium and some of the components that have been mentioned above. The aim of the treatment is to ensure there is no deficiency of Calcium and care is taken to ensure that there will be no excess deposits of this mineral either. Avoid excesses, consume a well-balanced diet and exercise regularly- Healthy bones will provide a solid frame for your body.
Do you take calcium supplements? When did you find out about your calcium deficiency? Do share your thoughts and experience.