Have you ever wonder your mild body aches to serious illness can ever be linked to calcium deficiency? Well, the fact is true. It is the fifth abundant element in the body. It absolutely plays a vital role in skeletal structural units. Its total level in the body is 100-170 gms, in which 99% present in the bones. The normal serum levels are between 9-11 mg/dl. Values that are lower/higher than this will have its own consequences.

Factors that control the Its homeostasis are parathyroid hormone, calcitonin by thyroid hormone, vitamin D and dietary intake of calcium and phosphate.

 Roles of calcium in the body  :

Role in the formation and maintenance of bones, teeth skeletal structures :

The organic matrix of the bones and teeth are composed of calcium and phosphate in the larger amount. Hormonal imbalance like hypo/hypersecretion of the thyroid,  parathyroid, corticosteroids and sunlight exposure will have a major effect on bone density and skeletal structures.

For membrane permeability :

Apart from sodium and potassium, the ionised form of calcium in the extracellular fluid also has a role in membrane permeability. Thus, it helps in balancing the inner and outer fluid content of the cells.

For normal heart rhythm :

Calcium ions are essential for the contraction of heart muscles. this awesome functionality helps in maintaining the proper rhythmicity of the heartbeat. Its low blood levels will increase the risk of ventricular tachycardia (a too rapid contraction of the lower chamber of the heart).

For neuromuscular excitability and muscle contraction :

Calcium ions are required for the electrical signalling process to generate impulse for neuromuscular excitability and muscle contraction. Its low serum level can cause hyperirritability and tetany ( muscle spasm) with characteristic carpopedal spasm. While the high concentration can cause depressed nerve conductivity and muscle rigor.

For coagulation of blood :

Calcium is one of the important factors in the blood coagulation (blood clotting) cascade. Its low blood level will cause a reduction in blood clotting ability and increased internal haemorrhage.

As secondary and tertiary messenger in hormone action :

It acts as a messenger for the hormones to act on their target organs and to elicit desirable function. Low level of calcium will impair the adequate target – actionability.

Conclusion:

Never take calcium for granted. It has a very valid role in the body. Every other health issue has a huge connection with calcium availability.

References :

Textbook of physiology by Guyton

Review of internal medicine by Harrisons

Textbook of oral pathology by Shafers.

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