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Definition of Hypocalcemia

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Hypocalcemia: Lower-than-normal level of calcium in the blood, which makes the nervous system highly irritable, as evidenced by tetany (spasms of the hands and feet, muscle cramps, abdominal cramps, and overly active reflexes). Chronic hypocalcemia contributes to poor mineralization of bones, soft bones (osteomalacia), and osteoporosis. In children, hypocalcemia leads to rickets and impaired growth. Treatment involves increased dietary intake of calcium or calcium supplementation.

Reviewed on 12/12/2018

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