Calcium and bone problems

Calcium plays an important role in the body. It contributes to bone health, muscle function, nerve transmission and more. If calcium levels are too high or too low, it can cause health issues.

Low calcium or hypocalcemia can happen in children for different reasons including:

  • Not enough calcium-rich foods in their diet
  • Not enough vitamin D in their body. Vitamin D helps with calcium absorption. So if this is low, it can slow down calcium absorption in the body.
  • Problems with the parathyroid gland. This is also called hypoparathyroidism.
  • DiGeorge syndrome
  • Certain medicines

High calcium or hypercalcemia can happen in children for different reasons including:

  • Too much parathyroid hormone. This is also called hyperparathyroidism.
  • Certain genetic disorders
  • If children move very little, like when they have to stay in bed for the most part
  • Certain medicines
  • Too much vitamin D in their body. This can lead to a lot of calcium being absorbed. 

Rickets causes softening and weakening of the bones. Rickets can happen in children for different reasons, including:

  • A very low amount of vitamin D in their body.
  • Not enough calcium or phosphate in their diet or problems with how the body absorbs these nutrients. 

Other bone conditions

There are other rare bone conditions that affect children, including:

  • Osteogenesis imperfect
  • Osteoporosis
  • Hypophosphatasia

Children with these conditions are seen in our specialty bone clinic, along with nephrology (kidney doctors) and genetics. 

More information

Calcium and bone problem care at Children's Wisconsin

  • At your child’s visit, our team gathers a medical history and performs a physical exam.
  • The team may need to get blood tests or an X-ray of the hand. They may also need your child to do a dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry scan, or DXA scan for short. A DXA scan is a painless imaging test, like an X-ray. It uses low levels of X-rays to measure the density of your child’s bones.
  • Treatment will depend on what is causing the problem and how severe it is. From there, we will decide on the best treatment plan for your child together.