What is tetany?
Tetany is a symptom of muscle cramps, spasms, or tremors. These repeated actions of the muscles take place when the muscles deal uncontrollably. Tetany can appear in any muscle in the body, such as the face, fingers, or calves. The muscle cramps associated with tetany can be prolonged and painful.
You have many medical conditions that you may not be able to detect if they happen to you. Catching a cold is very obvious, as is indigestion after an unacceptable meal. But people like tetany who don’t feel normal, and sometimes their doctors, can throw up. Normally, tetany involves overstimulated neuromuscular activity.
Tetany is a feature. Like many symptoms, it can be triggered by a variety of conditions. This means that sometimes it is difficult to find the cause of this symptom. Although there are effective treatments for this condition, their prevention often depends on identifying the cause in the first place.
What other symptoms can occur with tetany?
Tetany may be accompanied by other symptoms, depending on the underlying disease, disorder, or condition. Symptoms that often affect the muscles can include other body systems as well.
Common symptoms that occur in conjunction with tetany.
Tetany can have other characteristics:
- Abdominal pain or cramps
- Chronic or persistent diarrhoea
- Sickness or laziness
- Muscle aches or pain
- Fast breathing (tachypnea) or shortness of breath
- Tingling or other abnormal sensations in the hands or feet
- Twisting or shaking fingers
- Symptoms that indicate a serious condition
In some cases, tetany can occur with other symptoms that indicate a serious condition that must be evaluated immediately in an emergency. If you, or someone with you, has tetanus along with other serious symptoms, seek immediate medical attention:
- Fainting or changes in the level of consciousness or lethargy
- Loss of muscle coordination
- Vision loss or vision changes
- Intense headache
- Speak slow
- Sudden trouble with memory, thinking, speaking, understanding, writing, or reading
- Sudden weakness or numbness on one side of the body
Causes of tetany
Tetany is the result of an electrolyte imbalance. Most often, it is a dramatically lower calcium level, also known as hypocalcemia. Tetany can also be caused by magnesium deficiency or too little potassium. Too much acid (acidosis) or alkali (alkalosis) in the body can also lead to tetany. Another thing is to cause this imbalance.
For example, hypoparathyroidism is a condition in which the body does not make enough parathyroid hormone. This leads to a drastic reduction in calcium levels, which triggers tetany.
Sometimes kidney failure or pancreatitis problems can interfere with calcium levels in the body. In these cases, it can produce tetany due to organ failure, hypocalcemia. Low blood protein levels, septic shock, and some blood transfusions can also negatively affect blood calcium levels.
Sometimes toxins cause tetany. An example is botulinum toxin found in spoiled food or soil bacteria that enter the body through cuts or wounds.
Treatment of tetany
Calcium and vitamin D medications help control hypoparathyroidism. A healthy diet also helps. Your doctor may tell you:
- Limit your diet to phosphates, such as soda and other sodas. These can draw calcium from your bones.
- Eat low-fat dairy products, dark green vegetables like kale, and some calcium-rich foods like whole grains and orange juice.
- A dietitian can help you plan meals to keep you or your baby healthy. Her paediatrician will check in with her regularly to see if her growth is on track.
- In the short term, treatment goals are to correct the imbalance. This might include supplementing with calcium or magnesium, for example. Injecting calcium directly into the bloodstream is the most common approach. However, taking calcium orally (along with vitamin D, for absorption) may be required to prevent it from recurring.
- Once a doctor determines what was at the root of the tetany, they may consider more serious treatments. For instance, if tumours on the parathyroid are to blame, they can be surgically removed.
- In some cases, such as kidney failure, ongoing treatment with calcium supplements may be required to treat the condition that led to the tetany.
- If it is difficult to maintain a normal level of calcium in your body, you may need a PTH injection. Once your calcium levels return to normal, you can return to your normal treatment.
Taking care of yourself
You can take steps to make life with hypoparathyroidism easier.
- Take calcium supplements with food. Therefore, they are easily perceived.
- Drink lots of water every day. It makes it easier for your body to digest vitamins and minerals.
- Visit your dentist regularly. Too little calcium can damage your teeth.
Tetany can be caused by a serious condition, which can lead to serious complications and permanent damage if left untreated. Once the underlying cause is diagnosed, you and your healthcare professional must follow a treatment plan to reduce the risk of possible complications:
- The brain is damaged
- Renal insufficiency
- Organ failure or dysfunction
- Unconsciousness and coma