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Hypophosphatemia

Definition

Hypophosphatemia is a low level of phosphorus in the blood.

Alternative Names

Low blood phosphate; Phosphate - low; Hyperparathyroidism - low phosphate

Causes

The following may cause hypophosphatemia:

  • Alcoholism
  • Antacids
  • Certain medicines, including insulin, acetazolamide, foscarnet, imatinib, pentamidine, and sorafenib
  • Fanconi syndrome
  • Starvation
  • Too little vitamin D
  • Overactive parathyroid gland (hyperparathyroidism)
  • Burns

Symptoms

Symptoms may include:

  • Bone pain
  • Confusion
  • Muscle weakness

Exams and Tests

Your health care provider will examine you.

The following tests may be done:

  • Kidney function tests
  • Vitamin D blood test

Exam and testing may show:

Treatment

Treatment depends on the cause. Phosphate can be given by mouth or through a vein (IV).

Outlook (Prognosis)

How well you do depends on what has caused the condition.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call your provider if you have muscle weakness or confusion.

References

Klemm KM, Klein MJ. Biochemical markers of bone metabolism. In: McPherson RA, Pincus MR, eds. Henry's Clinical Diagnosis and Management by Laboratory Methods. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2017:chap 15.

Yu ASL. Disorders of magnesium and phosphorous. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 25th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 119.


Review Date: 2/7/2017
Reviewed By: Laura J. Martin, MD, MPH, ABIM Board Certified in Internal Medicine and Hospice and Palliative Medicine, Atlanta, GA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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