Hypophosphatemia

Hypophosphatemia means you have a lack of phosphates in the blood. Phosphate is important for the strength and structure of bones and teeth, and for muscle functioning. Low blood phosphate can cause a variety of symptoms and problems.

CAUSES

Because phosphate is present in so many foods, hypophosphatemia is rarely caused by a poor diet. Causes of hypophosphatemia may include:

  • Alcoholism.

  • Chronic diarrhea.

  • Starvation.

  • Vitamin D deficiency.

  • Excessive use of antacids.

  • Use of steroid medicines.

  • Hyperparathyroidism.

  • Intestinal problems that interfere with normal absorption of nutrients.

  • Diabetic ketoacidosis.

  • Total parenteral nutrition.

  • Nasogastric suction.

  • Severe infections.

  • Genetic kidney problems.

SYMPTOMS

  • Bone pain.

  • Broken (fractured) bones.

  • Bowed legs.

  • Growth problems (short height).

  • Weak muscles.

  • Confusion.

  • Shortness of breath.

  • Seizures.

DIAGNOSIS

Hypophosphatemia is usually diagnosed through blood tests. Other tests may then be performed to determine the underlying cause of the condition.

TREATMENT

Treatment for hypophosphatemia includes giving phosphate supplements. These can be given by mouth or through the vein (intravenously), depending on the severity of the symptoms and deficiency. Vitamin D may also be given to treat hypophosphatemia.

HOME CARE INSTRUCTIONS

Consult with a dietitian as recommended to make sure you are eating the most healthful diet possible.

SEEK IMMEDIATE MEDICAL CARE IF:

  • You develop chest pain.

  • You have difficulty breathing.

  • You develop increased weakness.

  • You have a suspected bone fracture.

  • You have severe pain.

  • You develop mood, memory, or personality changes.