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Calcium and Its Effect on Musculoskeletal System

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The Musculoskeletal System (Chu)
The Musculoskeletal System (Chu)

Summary

The musculoskeletal system is an organ system made up of specialized tissues of the skeletal muscles and bones. Calcium relates to a mineral found primarily in foods, including milk, kale, and fish; it helps maintain strong teeth and bones in the body. This mineral plays an instrumental role in improving nerve stimulations, muscle contractions, and blood pressure regulation; it helps maintain the essential mass for skeletal support.

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Introduction

The musculoskeletal system relates to an organ system made up of specialized tissues of the skeletal muscles and bones. The skeleton contains vital hematopoietic components and stores ninety-nine percent of the calcium in the body (Geiger et al. 3). Bones connect to other muscle fibers and bones through connective tissue such as ligaments and tendons. Muscles ensure bones are in place and aid in their movement. Joints allow movement between bones while cartilage prevents friction between bone ends during motion. Calcium is added to the musculoskeletal system by osteoblasts and removed by osteoclasts (Nguyen 20). Calcium is stored within the skeleton and it helps in maintaining the necessary mass for skeletal support. Besides, it is essential for muscle contraction, blood clotting, and heart functioning. This essay provides a detailed description of how calcium strengthens the musculoskeletal system, which includes bones, ligaments, muscles, cartilage, joints, and tendons.

Sources of Calcium

Humans get calcium through the foods they eat. The body does not manufacture calcium. Therefore, it gets the compound from the food one eats or other calcium supplements. Foods rich in calcium include dairy products like milk and cheese, green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, okra, and curly kale, soya drinks, fortified flour products like bread, and fish (Murphy et al. 5). Lack of sufficient calcium can lead to rickets in children and osteoporosis in adults.

Recommended Daily Calcium Quantities

Insufficient intake of calcium leads to poor uptake by the body, which, in turn, makes the bones weak. It is estimated that only about 32 percent of Americans obtain adequate minerals from food alone (Kahwati et al. 1603). Even with supplements, most adults do not take enough calcium. The recommended daily amount of calcium for grownups aged between 19 and 64 is approximately 700mg/day (Kahwati et al. 1603). The required quantities are obtained from daily balanced diets and supplements for some people. Too many calcium supplements (above 1500mg/day) are harmful because it results in diarrhea and stomach pain.

Definition of Calcium Deficiency

Inadequate intake of calcium increases the risk of developing hypocalcemia (calcium deficiency disease). Naafs argues that the probability of having calcium deficiency increases with age (268). Besides, one does not become calcium deficient after skipping one daily dose. However, people need to ensure that they get the recommended daily dose because the body utilizes the mineral quickly. Since vegans do not eat calcium-rich dairy products, they are more likely to get hypocalcemia.

Causes of Calcium Deficiency

Causes of calcium deficiency include poor intake over a long time, particularly in childhood, dietary intolerance to calcium-rich foods, hormonal changes in women, medications that reduce calcium absorption, and certain genetic factors (Tankeu et al. 643). Other causative agents are malabsorption and malnutrition. Malabsorption occurs when the body cannot absorb the required minerals from food eaten while malnutrition is when a person is not taking enough nutrients. Calcium deficiency does not have short-term symptoms as the body tries to maintain calcium levels by extracting it from bones. Nevertheless, long-term low calcium levels exhibit severe symptoms, including memory loss, muscle spasms, muscle cramps, and tingling and numbness in the face, feet, and hands.

Symptoms of Hypocalcemia

Hypocalcemia affects all body parts, leading to symptoms such as fragile and thin skin, weak nails, dental problems, and slow hair growth. Although calcium deficiency, in its early stage, does not result in any symptoms, the indicators develop as the disorder progresses (Almaghamsi et al. 453). Signs of severe hypocalcemia include memory loss, tingling and numbness in the face, feet, and hands, hallucinations, muscle spasms, brittle and weak nails, the fracturing of bones, depression, seizures, and muscle cramps. In case one experiences the aforementioned symptoms, they should seek medical care, this includes the diagnosis and treatment of the disease.

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Diagnosis and Treatment of Hypocalcemia

Calcium deficiency is diagnosed and treated by taking a blood sample to check calcium levels and recommending the appropriate treatment options. The doctor will measure the albumin level, total calcium level, and ionized calcium amount. The normal adult calcium level should range from 8.8-10.4mg/dL (Harvey et al. 449). Constant low calcium levels from the above tests confirm the presence of hypocalcemia. The treatment for calcium deficiency involves adding more calcium to the body by taking supplements. The generally commended calcium boosters comprise calcium carbonate, calcium phosphate, and calcium citrate (Nicholson et al. 140). The products are available in chewable, tablet, and liquid forms.

Critics and Opposing Views

Although calcium supplements are suggested in case of low levels of the mineral in the body, a high concentration of the compound can have damaging health problems. Even though eating calcium-rich foods and taking supplements helps increase calcium levels in the blood, it is essential to maintain the recommended dosage and consumption ratios (Cormick and Belizán 4). There is growing evidence suggesting calcium supplementation’s potential adverse impacts. For instance, according to a review by Li et al. calcium consumption <751mg/d increases an individual’s susceptibility to osteoporosis and its related fractures, while high intake >1,137mg/d elevates the likelihood of hip fractures in females (2447). However, other researchers, including Wimalawansa et al. highlight calcium’s importance in enhancing bone development and fracture prevention (10). Right amounts of calcium have several benefits to the musculoskeletal system, including support and strengthening of bones. Therefore, people should adhere to the correct dosage of supplements and take calcium-rich foods to boost their immunity.

References

Almaghamsi, Abdulrahman et al. “Hypocalcemia in Pregnancy: A Clinical Review Update.” Oman medical journal, vol. 33, no. 6, 2018, pp. 453–462. Web.

Chu, Will. “Nutrition Trumps Exercise in Strengthening Bone, Mice Study Finds.” NUTRA Ingredients. 2018. Web.

Cormick, Gabriela, and Jose, Belizán. “Calcium Intake and Health.” Nutrients, vol. 11, no. 7, 2019, pp. 1–10. Web.

Geiker, Nina. et al. “Impact of Whole Dairy Matrix on Musculoskeletal Health and Aging: Current Knowledge and Research Gaps.” Osteoporosis International, vol. 31, 2020, pp. 601–615. Web.

Harvey, Nicholas, et al. “The Role of Calcium Supplementation in Healthy Musculoskeletal Ageing.” Osteoporosis International, vol. 28, no. 2, 2017, pp. 447–462. Web.

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Kahwati, Leila et al. “Vitamin D, Calcium, or Combined Supplementation for the Primary Prevention of Fractures in Community-Dwelling Adults: Evidence Report and Systematic Review for the US Preventive Services Task Force.” JAMA, vol. 319, no. 15, 2018, pp. 1600–1612. Web.

Li, Kelvin et al. “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Calcium Supplementation: A review of Calcium Intake on Human Health.” Clinical Interventions in Aging, vol. 13, 2018, pp. 2443–2452. Web.

Murphy, Andrew, et al. “Structure, Function, and Control of the Human Musculoskeletal Network.” PLoS Biology, vol. 16, no. 1, 2018, pp. 1–27. Web.

Naafs, Michael. “Hypocalcemia in the critically ill: A mini-review.” Endocrinology & Metabolism International Journal, vol. 5, no. 4, 2017, pp. 264–269. Web.

Nguyen, Vu. “Osteoporosis Prevention and Osteoporosis Exercise in Community-Based Public Health Programs.” Osteoporosis and Sarcopenia, vol. 3, no. 1, 2017, pp. 18-31. Web.

Nicholson, Kristina et al. “A comparative Cost-Utility Analysis of Postoperative Calcium Supplementation Strategies Used in the Current Management of Hypocalcemia.” Surgery, vol. 167, no. 1, 2020, pp. 137-143. Web.

Pu, Fan et al. “Calcium Intake, Calcium Homeostasis and Health.” Food Science and Human Wellness, vol. 5, no. 1, 2016, pp. 8–16. Web.

Tankeu, Aurel et al. “Calcium Supplementation and Cardiovascular Risk: A Rising Concern.” The Journal of Clinical Hypertension, vol. 19, no. 6, 2017, pp. 640–646. Web.

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Wimalawansa, Sunil et al. “Calcium and Vitamin D in Human Health: Hype or Real?” The Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, vol. 180, no. 1, 2018, pp. 4–14. Web.

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