HealthSheets™


Discharge Instructions for Hypocalcemia

You have been diagnosed with hypocalcemia (not enough calcium in your blood). Calcium is a mineral. It helps develop bones and teeth, controls heart rhythm, and allows muscles to contract. Causes of hypocalcemia include lack of calcium or vitamin D in your diet, digestive system problems, gland problems, kidney or pancreas disease, and low magnesium levels. Each of these possible causes comes with its own treatments and other things to look out for.

Home care

  • Eat more foods high in calcium. Increase your intake (in moderation) of dairy products such as milk, cheese, cottage cheese, yogurt, and ice cream. Fortified soy milk and orange juice, spinach, kale, sardines, salmon, and tofu are also good sources of calcium.

  • Read food labels. Buy dairy products, juices, and breads that contain added calcium.

  • Take a calcium supplement as directed by your healthcare provider.

  • Take a vitamin D supplement as directed by your healthcare provider. Most multivitamin tablets contain vitamin D.

  • Don't have salty foods. Salt makes you lose calcium.

  • Tell your healthcare provider about all prescription and over-the-counter medicines you are taking. This includes herbal preparations and other dietary supplements. Some common medicines can cause your body to lose calcium.

  • Go back to your normal activities as directed by your healthcare provider.

Follow-up

Make a follow-up appointment, or as advised by your healthcare provider. Depending on the cause of your hypocalcemia, you may need frequent blood tests. They will help to be sure that the level of calcium in your blood remains in the normal range.

When to call your healthcare provider

Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any of the following:

  • Extreme fatigue

  • Depression

  • Hallucinations

  • Muscle cramps, spasms, or twitching

  • Numbness and tingling in the arms, legs, hands, or feet

  • Seizures

  • Irregular heartbeat

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