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    Low blood magnesium; Magnesium - low

    Hypomagnesemiais a condition in whichthe amount of magnesium in the blood is lower than normal.


    Hypomagnesemia can be caused by:

    • Alcoholism
    • Burns that affect a large area ofthe body
    • Chronic diarrhea
    • Excessive urination (polyuria), such as in uncontrolled diabetes and during recovery from acute kidney failure
    • High blood calcium levels (hypercalcemia)
    • Hyperaldosteronism
    • Malabsorption syndromes, such as celiac disease and inflammatory bowel disease
    • Malnutrition
    • Medications including amphotericin, cisplatin, cyclosporine, diuretics, proton pump inhibitors, and aminoglycoside antibiotics
    • Sweating


    Common symptoms include:

    • Abnormal eye movements (nystagmus)
    • Convulsions
    • Fatigue
    • Muscle spasms or cramps
    • Muscle weakness
    • Numbness

    Exams and Tests

    Your health care provider will do a physical exam to help determine the cause of your symptoms.

    Tests that may be ordered include an

    • Electrocardiogram (ECG)

    Blood and urine teststhat may be done include:

    • Calcium blood test
    • Comprehensive metabolic panel
    • Magnesium blood test
    • Potassium blood test
    • Urine magnesium test


    Treatment depends on the type of hypomagnesemia and may include:

    • Fluids given through a vein (IV)
    • Magnesium by mouth or through a vein
    • Medication to relieve symptoms

    Outlook (Prognosis)

    The outcome depends on the condition that is causing the problem.

    Possible Complications

    • Cardiac arrest
    • Respiratory arrest
    • Death

    When to Contact a Medical Professional

    Hypomagnesemia can be a life-threatening emergency. Call your health care provider right awayif you have symptoms of this condition.


    Treating the condition that is causing hypomagnesemia can help. If you play sports, drink fluids such as sports drinks,which contain electrolytes. Drinking only water while youare activecan lead to hypomagnesemia.


    Yu ASL. Disorders of magnesium and phosphorous. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman’s Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 121.


          Tests for Hypomagnesemia

            Review Date: 4/14/2013

            Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.

            The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

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            St. Luke's Hospital - 232 South Woods Mill Road - Chesterfield, MO 63017 Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
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