Calcium Disorders

Calcium Disorders

Calcium Disorders

Calcium, which is stored in the bones, is regulated by the thyroid, parathyroid and kidneys.  In some cases, children may have too little calcium in the blood which is a condition called hypocalcemia.  Conversely, when a child has too much calcium in their blood, it is referred to as hypercalcemia.

Hypocalcemia vs Hypercalcemia

Parathyroid hormone and calcitonin are the two hormones that regulate the release of calcium from the bones into the bloodstream.  While calcium is most commonly known for its role in bone health and development, it has other key purposes within the body.   For example, our bodies also use calcium for proper muscle contraction, including the heart, nerve conduction and other bodily functions. When there is too much or too little calcium in the blood, symptoms become evident.  The following chart outlines the difference between the two disorders.

Hypocalcemia

Overview

Hypocalcemia is a condition that occurs when there is too little calcium in a child’s blood.

Common Causes

  • Premature birth
  • Infections
  • Maternal diabetes
  • Some medications
  • Vitamin D deficiency
  • Hyperparathyroidism

Common Symptoms

  • Brittle nails 
  • Dry hair 
  • Dry skin
  • Muscle cramps 
  • Seizures 
  • Short stature 
  • Tingling in the fingers and toes 
  • Weakened tooth enamel   

Hypercalcemia

Overview

Hypercalcemia is a condition that occurs when there is too much calcium in a child’s blood. 

Common Causes

  • Certain cancers
  • Certain medications
  • Excess Vitamin D
  • Hypoparathyroidism
  • Eating too much calcium 
  • Familial Hypocalciuric Hypercalcemia 
  • Kidney failure 
  • Paget’s disease

Common Symptoms

  • Abdominal pain
  • Constipation
  • Fractures or spine abnormality 
  • Frequent urination
  • Headache
  • Irritability
  • Muscle twitches or weakness
  • Nausea or vomiting

Diagnosis and Treatment

The diagnosis of either hypocalcemia or hypercalcemia is typically made with a blood test and an overview of the child’s health history.  

The treatments of the two conditions are vastly different.  While the treatment of hypocalcemia may be as simple of prescribing calcium or Vitamin D supplements, the treatment of hypercalcemia is far more complex.  

An appointment with Dr. Joshua Smith, our pediatric endocrinologist, will help identify the origin of the calcium disorder and establish a treatment plan.   Pediatric Endocrinology Specialist

Dr. Smith is the regions only pediatric endocrinology and is specifically trained to properly diagnose and treat calcium disorders. 

If your child is experiencing calcium disorder symptoms, call Dr. Joshua Smith for an appointment or fill out the form below.  

 

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