Identifying and Treating Hypomagnesemia

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Identifying and Treating Hypomagnesemia

Affecting approximately 2% of the general population, hypomagnesemia is most commonly found in hospitalised adults over the age of 30. The reason hospitalisation is a regularly occurring overlap with this low magnesium condition is because it is difficult to retain the correct amount of magnesium while experiencing abnormal metabolic behaviour (e.g. vomiting or excreting excessively), which often happens to patients while undergoing the stress of illness, surgeries, or trying a new medication.

Hypomagnesemia is a condition characterised by dangerously low levels of magnesium. Magnesium is one of seven vital macro-minerals which humans rely on for general health. Adult women need to consume roughly 300 mg of magnesium per day, while men require as much as 400 mg in order to regulate the smooth functioning of over 300 metabolic reactions within the body, including:

  • Cellular production
  • Cell stabilisation
  • Protein synthesis
  • Transmission of nerve signals
  • DNA synthesis
  • Glycolysis
  • Bone and cardiac function
  • Glucose metabolism

These are just a small percentage of the many important functions that magnesium provides. Although only a small amount of it is stored in the body, its presence is responsible for so many of the biological processes which we may take for granted. Without magnesium, the body isn’t able to maintain normal muscle and nerve function, regulate the heartbeat, or fortify bones effectively.

Symptoms To Watch For

Those with hypomagnesemia are likely to experience the following symptoms of deficiency:

  • Muscle spasms
  • Muscle cramps
  • Seizures
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Osteoporosis (brittle bones)

Hypomagnesemia is often associated with kidney disorders because it is the kidney’s job to regulate how much magnesium is being retained by the body. If the kidneys are not able to function optimally, they may allow for the loss of too much magnesium. In the event of excessive diarrhoea, urination or vomiting, the body also loses a lot of magnesium, which can quickly cause a deficiency. 

A Not Uncommon Affliction

Hypomagnesemia may not be very common, but general magnesium deficiencies are. With a growing interest in commercial exercise and workouts, more and more people are becoming aware of how their muscles are impacted by the presence (or lack thereof) sufficient magnesium levels.

One of the ways that highly physically active people combat low magnesium is through an Epsom salt bath after exercise. Epsom salts contain magnesium sulphate, a crystallised form of magnesium which dissolves in water and can be absorbed quite effectively through the skin.

Alternatively, most people will absorb their intake through magnesium rich foods such as dark chocolate, pumpkin seeds, spinach, cashews, soymilk, edamame beans, and salmon. However, those with hypomagnesemia (as opposed to those with very mild magnesium deficiencies) will need to receive proper treatment from a doctor if they are to get their health back on track.

Fortunately, because the ideal amount of magnesium is already so small, most people with hypomagnesemia can be treated fairly quickly with high quality supplements administered by a professional, so you’ll be back to normal and able to spend some time with real money play games before you know it.