Calcium-Deficiency Disorders: A Review

Calcium-deficiency disorders are a group of clinical conditions caused by insufficient calcium in the diet or body. They are a significant cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide and can have a negative impact on quality of life. This article reviews the current evidence on the prevalence, etiology, diagnosis, and management of calcium-deficiency disorders.


Calcium-deficiency disorders are a major public health issue, affecting an estimated 1.7 billion people worldwide. The prevalence of calcium-deficiency disorders varies by region and age group. In the United States, calcium-deficiency disorders are most common in older adults, with an estimated prevalence of 5-15%. In developing countries, calcium-deficiency disorders are more common in children and adolescents, with a prevalence of up to 20%.


Calcium-deficiency disorders are caused by inadequate calcium intake or absorption, or increased calcium losses due to disease or medications. Inadequate dietary calcium intake is the most common cause of calcium-deficiency disorders. Other causes include malabsorption due to gastrointestinal or intestinal diseases, certain medications, vitamin D deficiency, excessive intake of caffeine or alcohol, and certain genetic disorders.


Calcium-deficiency disorders can be diagnosed through laboratory tests, such as serum calcium and phosphorus levels, serum parathyroid hormone (PTH) levels, and urine calcium and phosphorus levels. Additionally, imaging studies, such as dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) or computed tomography (CT) scans can be used to diagnose calcium-deficiency disorders.


The treatment of calcium-deficiency disorders depends on the underlying cause. Dietary modifications, including increased intake of calcium-rich foods, may be recommended. Supplementation with calcium and vitamin D may also be recommended. For individuals with malabsorption due to gastrointestinal or intestinal diseases, medications, such as calcium citrate, may be prescribed. In cases of severe calcium-deficiency disorders, intravenous calcium may be necessary.


Calcium-deficiency disorders are a major public health issue owing to their prevalence and significant impact on quality of life. The diagnosis and management of calcium-deficiency disorders is complex and requires a thorough evaluation of dietary intake, laboratory tests, and imaging studies. Treatment typically involves dietary modification, supplementation, and, in some cases, medications or intravenous calcium.


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