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Low calcium level - infants

Hypocalcemia - infants

 

Calcium is a mineral in the body. It is needed for strong bones and teeth. Calcium also helps the heart, nerves, muscles, and other body systems work well.

A low blood calcium level is called hypocalcemia. This article discusses low blood calcium level in infants.

Causes

 

A healthy baby most often has very careful control of blood calcium level.

A low calcium level in the blood is more likely to occur in newborns, more commonly in those who were born too early (preemies). Common causes of hypocalcemia in a newborn include:

  • Certain medications
  • Diabetes in the birth mother
  • Episodes of very low oxygen levels
  • Infection
  • Stress caused by serious illness

There are also some rare illnesses that can lead to low calcium level. These include:

  • DiGeorge syndrome, a genetic disorder
  • The parathyroid glands help control calcium use and removal by the body. Rarely, a child is born with an underactive parathyroid glands.

 

Symptoms

 

Babies with hypocalcemia often have no symptoms. Sometimes, babies with low calcium levels are jittery or have tremors or twitching. Rarely, they have seizures.

These babies may also have a slow heart rate and low blood pressure.

 

Exams and Tests

 

Diagnosis is most often made when a blood test shows that the infant's calcium level is low.

 

Treatment

 

The baby may get extra calcium, if needed.

 

Outlook (Prognosis)

 

Problems with low calcium level in newborns or premature infants most often do not continue long-term.

 

 

References

Hawdon J, Cheetham T, Schenk DJ, Wraith JE, et al. Metabolic and endocrine disorders. In: Rennie JM, ed. Rennie and Roberton's Textbook of Neonatology. 5th ed. London, UK: Elsevier; 2012:chap 34.

Kliegman RM, Stanton BF, St Geme JW III, Schor MF. Electrolyte and acid-base disorders. In: Kliegman RM, Stanton BF, St Geme JW III, Schor NF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 20th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 55.

 
  • Hypocalcemia

    Hypocalcemia - illustration

    Hypocalcemia is a condition where blood levels of calcium are low. Calcium is a salt that is important to many systems in the body, especially heart and muscle function. Prolonged low calcium levels can result in poor bone formation, which may result in brittle bones that are prone to fractures.

    Hypocalcemia

    illustration

    • Hypocalcemia

      Hypocalcemia - illustration

      Hypocalcemia is a condition where blood levels of calcium are low. Calcium is a salt that is important to many systems in the body, especially heart and muscle function. Prolonged low calcium levels can result in poor bone formation, which may result in brittle bones that are prone to fractures.

      Hypocalcemia

      illustration

    A Closer Look

     

    Talking to your MD

     

      Self Care

       

        Tests for Low calcium level - infants

         

         

        Review Date: 11/19/2015

        Reviewed By: Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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