Deficiency Signs And Symptoms

While there is little information available about the prevalence of deficiency across the general Australian population, a Melbourne study of 1045 women aged 20-92 years in 2000 revealed that approximately 76% of women consumed calcium at levels less © 2007 Elsevier Australia

than the RDI and an additional 14% demonstrated a grossly inadequate intake of <300 mg/day (Pasco et al 2000). These figures are similar to those obtained by larger studies in the United States (Groff & Groper 2000).

• Tetany: muscle pain, spasms and paraesthesias.

• Osteomalacia.

• Increased neuromuscular irritability.

• Ambulatory developmental delays in children.

• Osteoporosis and increased risk of fractures.

• Bone pain and deformity.

• Tooth discolouration and increased decay.

• Hypertension.

• Increased risk of pre-eclampsia.

• Increased risk of colon cancer (controversial). There are many situations and conditions in which the risk of hypocalcaemia may be increased. PRIMARY DEFICIENCY

Primary deficiency occurs as a result of inadequate dietary intake. Populations with increased calcium requirements are at greater risk of deficiency when intakes are not modified to meet their increased needs; these include children, adolescents, pregnant and lactating women, postmenopausal women, particularly those taking HRT (Wahlqvist et al 2002), people experiencing rapid weight loss or patients receiving TPN.

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