Hypocalcemia (Child)

Hypocalcemia is when there is not enough calcium in the body. Calcium is a mineral. It helps the heart and other muscles work well. It’s also needed to grow and maintain strong bones and teeth. Hypocalcemia may be caused by:

  • Lack of calcium or vitamin D in your child’s diet

  • Digestive problems

  • Gland problems

  • Kidney disease

  • Pancreas disease

  • Low magnesium levels

  • Too much phosphate in the blood

  • Certain medicines

Hypocalcemia can cause the muscles of the face, hands, and feet to twitch without your child’s control (spasm). It can also cause numbness or tingling around the mouth, or in the hands and feet. Other problems may include depression and memory loss.

A blood sample will be taken to check your child’s calcium level. The test also helps figure out if hypocalcemia may be caused by a problem with your child’s kidneys, or with the gland that controls the calcium level (parathyroid gland). Depending on the cause, your child may be given an oral calcium supplement. In severe cases, a child may need a shot (injection) of calcium gluconate. Your child may also have a vitamin D shot or supplement. If your child’s problem is caused by low magnesium, treatment will be given to raise it to a healthy level.

Home care

Your child’s healthcare provider may prescribe calcium and vitamin D supplements. He or she may prescribe other medicines or minerals. Follow all instructions for giving these.

General care

  • Give your child any medicines or supplements as directed.

  • Help your child make diet changes as instructed. You may be told to give your child more calcium-rich foods. These include dairy products like milk, cheese, and yogurt.

  • Limit soft drinks and soda. Many of these drinks have phosphates. These can make it harder for your child’s body to absorb calcium. 

  • Try to have your child play outside for at least 20 minutes each day. Sun on the skin helps the body make vitamin D. This helps your child absorb calcium.

Follow-up care

Follow up with your child’s healthcare provider, or as advised.

When to get medical advice

Call your child’s healthcare provider right away if any of these occur:

  • Extreme tiredness (fatigue)

  • Irregular heartbeat

  • Depression

  • Seeing or hearing things that aren’t there (hallucinations)

  • Muscle cramps, spasms, or twitching

  • Numbness and tingling in the arms, legs, hands, or feet

  • Seizures

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