Calcium deficiency can be caused by a variety of factors, including poor nutrition, inadequate absorption of calcium, certain medical conditions, and certain medications. Poor calcium intake is the most common cause of calcium deficiency, usually due to an inadequate intake of calcium-rich foods such as dairy products, leafy green vegetables, and calcium-fortified foods. A diet high in processed foods, sugar, and caffeine can also contribute to calcium deficiency. Inadequate absorption of calcium from the diet can also be a factor, due to conditions such as celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease, and certain intestinal surgeries.
Calcium deficiency is diagnosed by blood tests that measure the amount of calcium in the blood. If the blood calcium level is low, additional tests may be ordered to diagnose the underlying cause.
Other conditions that can cause symptoms similar to calcium deficiency include bone diseases such as osteoporosis, vitamin D deficiency, and kidney disease.
Treatment for calcium deficiency depends on the underlying cause. If the cause is dietary, increasing calcium intake through diet and supplements is the first step. If the cause is a medical condition, such as celiac disease, treatment of the underlying condition is necessary. In addition, calcium supplements and vitamin D supplementation may be prescribed to help with calcium absorption.
The prognosis for calcium deficiency depends on the underlying cause. If the cause is dietary, increasing calcium intake can lead to improved symptoms and better overall health. If the cause is a medical condition, treatment of the underlying condition can lead to an improvement in symptoms.