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Hypophosphatemia

AMBULATORY CARE:

Hypophosphatemia

is a low level of phosphate in your blood. Phosphate is an electrolyte (mineral) that works with calcium to help build bones. It also helps produce energy. Hypophosphatemia can be acute or chronic. Acute means the level in your blood drops suddenly. Chronic means the level has been low or drops slowly, over time.

Common signs and symptoms:

You may not have any signs or symptoms at first. If the condition becomes more severe, you may develop any of the following:

  • Lack of energy, or an energy drop
  • Being irritable
  • Muscle weakness or pain, trouble walking, or tremors
  • Confusion or seizures
  • Bone pain and fractures from weakened bones

Call your local emergency number (911 in the US) or have someone call if:

  • You have a seizure.

Seek care immediately if:

  • You are confused or have severe trouble thinking.
  • You break a bone.

Call your doctor if:

  • You have new or worsening symptoms.
  • You have nausea or are vomiting.
  • You have diarrhea or constipation that continues for more than 2 days.
  • You have muscle pain.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Treatment

is not needed if you do not have symptoms or your condition is mild. If you develop symptoms, treatment will depend on the cause:

  • Your phosphate level will be increased. Your healthcare provider may recommend that you have more food or drinks that contain phosphate. Examples include breads that contain yeast, dairy products, meat, eggs, peas, nuts, and beans. Your provider or a dietitian can tell you how much of these to have each day. Medicine may be given to increase your phosphate level. You may be able to take this as a pill at home. You will need to be admitted to the hospital if you need to get this medicine through an IV. Medicines may also be used to lower your calcium level or to raise other mineral levels.
  • Medicines may need to be changed or stopped. Your healthcare provider will review all of your medicines with you. He or she may recommend that you change or stop taking medicines that are causing your symptoms.
  • Health conditions may need to be treated. If you were brought into the hospital because DKA caused hypophosphatemia, the DKA will be treated. If it was caused by malnutrition or lack of vitamin, you will be given the nutrients or vitamin you need.

Prevent or manage hypophosphatemia:

  • Manage health conditions that can lead to hypophosphatemia. If you have diabetes, it is important to follow your management plan so you prevent DKA. Ask your healthcare provider for information if you are having problems with alcoholism and need help to stop drinking. Obesity and eating disorders such as bulimia or anorexia can cause malnutrition. This increases your risk for hypophosphatemia. Your provider can help you manage these health conditions or give you information on treatment plans.
  • Do not take more antacids or water pills than directed. Follow the directions on the label or that are given to you by your healthcare provider. These medicines are often available without a prescription. It can be easy to take too many at one time or in the same day.
  • Eat a variety of healthy foods. Healthy foods include fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy foods, beans, meats, fish, and whole-wheat breads and cereals. You can prevent malnutrition by eating enough healthy foods every day. Your healthcare provider or dietitian can help you plan meals and snacks.
    Healthy Foods
  • Exercise as directed. Your phosphate level may drop suddenly if you exercise too much or too intensely. Always warm up before you exercise and cool down after. Your healthcare provider can help you create a safe exercise plan.
    Walking for Exercise
  • Drink liquids as directed. Liquids help your kidneys function well. Liquids can also help prevent dehydration, especially if you have diarrhea. Talk to your healthcare provider about how much liquid to have every day. Too much or too little liquid can affect the balance of phosphate and other minerals in your body.

Follow up with your doctor as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.