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Low Calcium Levels in Children

by
author image Jennifer Smith
Jennifer Smith has been writing professionally since 2000. She has written and published several articles on various websites including FITDAY and HealthNews and worked with start-up companies to establish content for their websites. Smith has a Bachelor of Arts in liberal studies with concentrations in English and creative writing from Bowling Green State University.
Low Calcium Levels in Children
If not treated, low calcium levels can cause serious health issues. Photo Credit DragonImages/iStock/Getty Images

Low calcium levels in children can cause serious health risks if left untreated. Understanding the causes for low calcium levels and the symptoms and treatment methods can help to ensure that the levels of calcium in your child's body are at the appropriate levels.

Why do Children Need Calcium?

Children need calcium for a number of reasons. The most important is that it helps to nsure that their bones are healthy and growing properly. If a child does not have enough calcium in his diet, problems such as fractures or broken bones are more likely to occur. The process of bone growth begins before birth and continues well into the teenage years. To lower the risks of bone health problems, make sure that your child is getting plenty of calcium-rich foods in his diet.

How Much Calcium?

The amount of calcium that your child should get over the course of her early to late childhood depends on age. According to kidshealth.org children aged 1 to 3 should get 500 milligrams of calcium per day, while children aged 9 to 18 should be sure to get 1,300 milligrams of calcium per day. To ensure that your child is getting the right amount of calcium in her diet, it is important to speak with your health care professional about what he recommends.

Causes

According to the Merck Manuals Online Medical Library, low calcium levels can be caused by several factors. Some of these factors include: hormone imbalance, Vitamin D deficiency, kidney dysfunction and too much calcium being lost in the urine. Being aware of these causes can help you to understand the types of problems that may cause the calcium levels in your child's body to drop. Making sure that your child has regular check-ups with his physician will ensure that these problems are caught, should they become an issue.

Symptoms

If your child does not get the recommended amount of calcium in his diet it can have serious affects on the body. While in some instances there may be no symptoms associated with calcium levels that are too low, in more severe cases alarming symptoms can occur. As the calcium levels become extremely low, children may become confused, depressed, and forgetful and have tingling in their fingers and feet as well as stiff, achy muscles. If these symptoms arise, it is imperative that you take your child to your physician for evaluation.

Diagnosis and Treatment

In order for your physician to discover low calcium levels, she must preform a simple blood test. These routine blood tests are done to determine the amount of calcium present. When the levels are shown to be low, various treatments are used. They may include oral calcium supplements or Thiazide diuretics to decrease the excretion of calcium by the kidneys, according to the Merck Manuals. It is important to diagnose this issue early and to treat it quickly to avoid further complications with your child's health.

Final Thoughts

While low calcium levels in children can have very serious side effects, getting them tested as soon as a problem is suspected can help to catch the problem before it leads to further health issues. Your health care professional can provide you with information on the amount of calcium your child should get for his individual needs, and can assist with any questions or concerns you may have.

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