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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, intravenous iron, niacin, pentamidine, sorafenib, and tenofovir
  • Fanconi syndrome
  • Fat malabsorption in the gastrointestinal tract
  • Hyperparathyroidism (overactive parathyroid gland)
  • Starvation
  • Too little vitamin D

Symptoms

Symptoms may include:

  • Bone pain
  • Confusion
  • Muscle weakness
  • Seizures 

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

Chonchol M, Smogorzewski MJ, Stubbs, JR, Yu ASL. Disorders of calcium, magnesium, and phosphate balance. In: Yu ASL, Chertow GM, Luyckx VA, Marsden PA, Skorecki K, Taal MW, eds. Brenner and Rector's The Kidney. 11th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 18.

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. St Louis, MO: Elsevier; 2017:chap 15.