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The Best Way to Test for Calcium Deficiency at Home

Calcium is an essential mineral that your body cannot do without. Your body uses calcium to build strong teeth and bones.

Your heart and other muscles of your body use calcium to function properly. When you are deficient in calcium, your risk of the following disorders increases:

· Osteopenia

· Osteoporosis

· Hypocalcemia (calcium deficiency disease)

Children deficient in calcium may not grow as well as they should.

You must take the recommended amount of calcium per day to function correctly. You can obtain this through diet or with supplements.

A stethoscope and a piece of paper that reads "Hypocalcemia (Calcium deficiency)"

Photo Credit: By Saiful52

What causes calcium deficiency?

The risk of calcium deficiency for most people increases as they age. Several factors that may cause this deficiency include:

· Genetic factors

· Hormonal changes, primarily in women

· Dietary intolerance to calcium-rich foods

· Medications that may decrease absorption of calcium

· Poor calcium intake for an extended period, especially during childhood

Calcium must be taken in an adequate amount at all ages.

The recommended daily allowance is the same for both males and females for teenagers and children. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has suggested the following as daily recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for children:

Children group - Daily recommended dietary allowance (RDA)

Children, 9–18 years = 1,300 mg

Children, 4–8 years = 1,000 mg

Children, 1–3 years = 700 mg

Children, 7–12 months = 260 mg

Children, 0–6 months = 200 mg

Dietary guidelines recommended by the government of the United States suggest the following as calcium requirements for adults:

Adult Group - Daily recommended dietary allowance (RDA)

Women 71 years and up = 1,200 mg

Women, 51–70 years = 1,200 mg

Women, 31–50 years = 1,000 mg

Women, 19–30 years = 1,000 mg

Men, 71 years and up = 1,200 mg

Men, 51–70 years = 1,000 mg

Men, 31–50 years = 1,000 mg

Men, 19–30 years = 1,000 mg

Why do women need more calcium than men?

Women must increase their calcium intake earlier than men, beginning in middle age. Therefore, meeting the recommended calcium requirement is essential, especially as women approach menopause.

Increasing calcium intake during menopause will reduce the risk of osteoporosis and hypocalcemia. A woman’s bone thins faster during menopause due to the decline in estrogen.

Another factor that may contribute to calcium deficiency is hypoparathyroidism. People with hypoparathyroidism produce minimal parathyroid hormone, which regulates calcium levels in the blood.

Malnutrition and malabsorption are other factors that may contribute to hypocalcemia. A person is malnourished when not getting enough nutrients from their diet.

A graph that shows the estrogen hormone levels of an average woman by age

Photo Credit: By Akarat Phasura

On the other hand, malabsorption occurs when the body cannot absorb the minerals and vitamins from its food.

Other causes of malabsorption include:

· Pancreatitis

· Low levels of vitamin D, which makes it difficult to absorb calcium

· Septic shock

· Hyperphosphatemia

· Medications like phenobarbital, phenytoin, corticosteroids, rifampin, and other medicines treat increased calcium levels.

· Hypomagnesemia and hypermagnesemia

· Renal failure

· Blood transfusions

· Some chemotherapy drugs

· Extraction of the parathyroid gland as part of surgery to remove the thyroid gland

Missing your daily dose of calcium doesn’t mean that you’ll become deficient overnight. However, it would be helpful if you got enough calcium daily since it is always used up quickly by the body.

Note that calcium deficiency will not create short-term symptoms because there’s calcium stored in your bones, and your body takes it directly from there. However, long-term calcium deficiency can have severe effects.

How can you test for calcium deficiency at home?

Here’s how you determine if you have a low calcium level. Consult with your primary care provider before attempting the at-home calcium deficiency test.

You take a blood pressure cuff — the standard blood pressure cuff. Wrap the cuff around one of your calves; you’ll pump it up when you start feeling a cramp, and if that number is 200 or less, suspect a calcium deficiency.

Please do not do this test if you have peripheral vascular disease.

There could be several other reasons, but this is a good indicator if you are deficient in calcium. For example, you have sufficient calcium if the pressure is between 200 and 220mmHg. However, the optimal calcium is between 220 and 240mmHg.

You don’t need to go above 240mmHg.

These values are measured in millimeters of mercury, and what happens when you are deficient in calcium is you’ll have muscle cramps at rest, especially when you are sleeping. So this test will magnify that problem a little more to determine the point of your weakness.

What are the symptoms of calcium deficiency?

You may not experience any symptoms during the early stage of calcium deficiency. However, the symptoms will develop as the condition progresses.

Severe symptoms of this calcium deficiency include:

· Muscle spasms

· Memory loss or confusion

· Hallucinations

· Numbness

· Tingling in the face, feet, and hands

· Muscle cramps

· Brittle and weak nails

· Easy fracturing and breakage of the bones

Here’s another important fact: calcium deficiency affects every part of the body. For example, the nails become weak, the skin thins and are fragile, and hair growth slows down.

Calcium is also essential in muscle contraction and neurotransmitter release. Calcium deficiencies can result in seizures in healthy people.

Consult your healthcare provider if you begin experiencing neurological symptoms such as numbness, memory loss, tingling, or seizures.

An infograph of cailcium deficiency symptoms

Photo Credit: By Leyasw

Disclaimer: Dr. Berner does not diagnose, treat, or prevent any medical diseases or conditions; instead, he analyzes and corrects the structure of his patients with Foundational Correction to improve their overall quality of life. He works with their physicians, who regulate their medications. This blog post is not designed to provide medical advice, professional diagnosis, opinion, treatment, or services to you or any other individual. The information provided in this post or through linkages to other sites is not a substitute for medical or professional care. You should not use the information in place of a visit, consultation, or the advice of your physician or another healthcare provider. Foundation Chiropractic and Dr. Brett Berner are not liable or responsible for any advice, the course of treatment, diagnosis, or any other information, services, or product you obtain through this article or others.

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