What is Tetany? Sign, Causes and Treatment


What is Tetany?

Tetany is involuntary and excessively stimulated peripheral nerve muscle contractions. It’s due to electrolyte imbalances.

Tetany is manifest in many ways. Common Signs and symptoms are:

  • Numbness or tingling in the tongue.
  • Muscle spasms.
  • A sensation of heat or tingling in the extremities.

Related signs that are severe include:

  • Laryngospasm (voice box spasms) is a condition that can cause breathing problems.
  • The bronchospasms (when the muscles that connect the airways of your lungs contract).
  • Painful, generalized muscle cramps
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Reduced heart function, like arrhythmia in the heart that is irregular.

What is Tetany?

Common tetany cases aren’t life-threatening, but severe instances can be. Rhabdomyolysis is a possible complication in the worst situations. This condition could be lethal because of muscle wasting and fatigue. If you experience mild signs of Tetany, consult your doctor. If you experience extreme symptoms, dial 911 or visit an emergency room as quickly as possible.

What Does Tetany Look Like?

Tetany can cause muscles to contract and cramp involuntarily, typically in the feet and hands. But the spasms may extend across the entire body and can even reach the larynx or voice box, which can cause breathing issues.

What does Tetany look like?

Extreme occurrences of this condition can cause:

  • vomiting
  • convulsions
  • serious pain
  • seizures
  • heart dysfunction

Trousseau sign could indicate the early onset of Tetany due to low calcium. It can cause a spasm to the thumb and wrist, which could occur when an artery blood pressure monitor is applied to the arm. It’s not always apparent at times, but it can be noticeable.


Numerous cellular processes depend on steady calcium levels, such as muscle contraction, neuronal activity, hormone production, and blood coagulation. PTH is a hormone that regulates blood coagulation. PTH regulates serum calcium levels, which decrease when PTH gets released in the blood.

hand muscles contraction

Sometimes, hypercalcemia can be due to increased resistance to PTH; less often, by a decline in PTH levels. It refers to as hypoparathyroidism. It cause by surgery, elimination of the parathyroid gland, an autoimmune condition, or genetic disorders that affect the parathyroid gland e.g DiGeorge’s syndrome and magnesium deficiencies.

Additionally, low vitamin D levels can bring on the illness. Apart from a deficient diet and intestinal malnutrition, Vitamin D deficiencies can result from chronic renal failure. The condition can also arise from a lack of calcium in the body. It occurs in patients suffering from renal failure who suffer from chronic pancreatitis, people with severe infections, and people who are taking multiple medications.

In addition to hypocalcemia, various metabolic abnormalities could contribute to the tetany syndrome, such as electrolyte imbalances and acid-base imbalances.

Symptoms Of Tetany

The clinical signs range from minor sensory issues to life-threatening, severe complications. Paresthesia’s are sensations like burning or tingling on the feet, hands, and lips that feel numb.

Sometimes, individuals may experience spasms in vocal cords, i.e., laryngospasm, that can lead to breathing difficulties and create high-pitched sounds while breathing, i.e., laryngeal stridor.

Symptoms Of Tetany

Alongside nausea, muscle cramps, and seizures, those with Tetany can also experience irregular heartbeats or decreases in their heart function. Muscle cramps occur when muscles contract involuntarily but cannot relax, causing discomfort.


The symptoms of this condition include:

  • Muscle cramps
  • Paranesthesia affect the feet or hands.
  • Numbness in the mouth.

The symptoms may be detected if the person’s motor and sensory functions are assessed thoroughly in an examination for neurological disorders.

It can take some time to determine the cause of the condition established in certain patients because there is a lack of evident tetany signs. Also, it related to hypocalcemia may manifest in Tetany by showing Trousseau’s sign as an example.


Low blood calcium levels must be observed to verify a diagnosis of this condition. Additionally, tests in the laboratory can determine the reason for Tetany in the individual by measuring the parathyroid hormone PTH Vitamin D, magnesium, and levels of phosphorus in the blood.

Important Facts

If there is a low calcium level in the blood, a condition called Tetany develops, i.e., hypocalcemia. The symptoms of this condition include cramps, numbness, and paresthesia of feet and hands. Further, the most severe symptoms are breathing difficulties because of spasms in the laryngospasm of the voice box seizures, as well as reduced heart function.

treatment of tetany

If you notice these symptoms, it is the diagnosis of Tetany, and blood tests reveal low calcium levels. Calcium supplements and magnesium and vitamin D supplements are often used to boost calcium absorption.

Tetany Types

Hypocalcemic Tetany

Low calcium levels in the bloodstream are the underlying cause of this condition. Hypocalcemia Tetany manifests in symptoms that include hypersensitivity to the muscle and neural tissues. For a woman in adulthood, the situation is Low Calcium Tetany. It can be one of the early indications of DiGeorge Syndrome.

Neonatal Tetany

It describes the general, persistent hypertonicity among infants and infants, also known as Titanium. It is an uncommon condition that manifests as periodic tremors and muscle pain. Mainly by a defect in calcium metabolism and is associated with decreased activity of parathyroid glands.

Hyperventilation Tetany

It is a Tetany or muscular disorder due to forced respiration caused by insufficient carbon dioxide in the bloodstream. It is a nerve disorder that manifests as uncomfortable symptoms such as cramps, spasms, and muscle twitches.

Duration Tetany

A constant muscle contraction occurs due to powerful and continuous jerking. It is most evident in muscles that have degenerated.

Gastric Tetany

It is a severe form that develops from stomach problems. It produces painful spasms in the limbs and difficulty breathing.

Parathyroid Tetany

Also called Parathyroprival Tetany, an impairment can cause it in the functioning of the parathyroid glands. Like many other diseases, it is the best treatment at the first sign of symptoms. If you observe the disease’s movements on yourself or your loved relatives, do not put off treatment. The early diagnosis will aid in early recovery and prevent any future complications.


The doctor can address the problem in its source if they can pinpoint the reason for the Tetany. Treatment is designed to fix imbalances in the short term. Calcium and magnesium supplements are helpful.

An injection of calcium directly into your bloodstream can be a popular method. However, it may be required for the sufferer to consume calcium orally and vitamin D to stop the condition from recurring.

If a physician can pinpoint Tetany’s cause, other treatment options could be thought of. For example, surgery to remove a parathyroid tumor can relieve your symptoms. The issue that caused the Tetany might require calcium supplements in certain cases for kidney failure, for instance.


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