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In medicine, hypocalcemia is the presence of low serum calcium levels in the blood, usually taken as less than 3.5 mmol/L or 9 mg/dl or an ionized calcium level of less than 1.1 mmol/L (4.5 mg/dL). It is a type of electrolyte disturbance. In the blood, about half of all calcium is bound to proteins such as serum albumin, but it is the unbound, or ionized, calcium that the body regulates. If a person has abnormal levels of blood proteins then the plasma calcium may be inaccurate. The ionized calcium level is considered more clinically accurate in this case.
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More specifically, causes include:
Farm animals, mainly cows, can suffer hypocalcaemia (or milk fever) after calving. This is due to a large calcium demand and a slow response from the animal in terms of intestinal absorption or bone resorption. If a cow or other animal is affected it will collapse and have muscle spasms. It will eventually enter a coma and can die.
The treatment is an injection of calcium gluconate. It can be prevented in part by avoiding excess calcium, or more commonly, by regulating potassium in the diet before calving.
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Hypocalcaemia". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|