Locations Main Campus: Chesterfield, MO 63017   |   Locations
314-434-1500 314-434-1500   |   Contact Us

Multimedia Encyclopedia


 
E-mail Form
Email Results

 
 
Print-Friendly
Bookmarks
bookmarks-menu

Low magnesium level

Low blood magnesium; Magnesium - low; Hypomagnesemia

 

Low magnesium level is a condition in which the amount of magnesium in the blood is lower than normal. The medical name of this condition is hypomagnesemia.

Causes

 

Every organ in the body, especially the heart, muscles, and kidneys, needs the mineral magnesium. It also contributes to the makeup of teeth and bones. Magnesium is needed for many functions in the body, including the physical and chemical processes in the body that convert or use energy (metabolism).

When the level of magnesium in the body drops below normal, symptoms of low magnesium may develop.

Common causes of low magnesium include:

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

 

Symptoms

 

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 tests that may be done include:

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

 

Treatment

 

Treatment depends on the type of low magnesium problem and may include:

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

 

Outlook (Prognosis)

 

Outcome depends on the condition that is causing the problem.

 

Possible Complications

 

Untreated, this condition can lead to:

  • Cardiac arrest
  • Respiratory arrest
  • Death

 

When to Contact a Medical Professional

 

When your body’s magnesium level drops too much, it can be a life-threatening emergency. Call your provider right away if you have symptoms of this condition.

 

Prevention

 

Treating the condition that is causing low magnesium can help.

If you play sports or do other vigorous activity, drink fluids such as sports drinks that contain electrolytes to keep your magnesium level in a healthy range.

 

 

References

Pfennig CL, Slovis CM. Electrolyte disorders. In: Marx JA, Hockberger RS, Walls RM, et al., eds. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Mosby; 2014:chap 125.

 

        A Closer Look

         

        Talking to your MD

         

          Self Care

           

            Tests for Low magnesium level

             

             

            Review Date: 4/30/2015

            Reviewed By: Laura J. Martin, MD, MPH, ABIM Board Certified in Internal Medicine and Hospice and Palliative Medicine, Atlanta, GA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

            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.
            adam.com

             
             
             

             

             

            A.D.A.M. content is best viewed in IE9 or above, Firefox and Google Chrome browser.



            Content is best viewed in IE9 or above, Firefox and Google Chrome browser.