|Happy phosphorous and a science y new year!|
Hypophosphatemia is an electrolyte disturbance in which there is an abnormally low level of phosphate in the blood.
Signs and symptoms include - Muscle dysfunction and weakness, mental status changes, rhabdomyolysis, hemolytic anemia, etc.
Of course, it has a immunological consequence too - White cell dysfunction causing worsening of infections.
Hypophosphatemia has many causes, but is most commonly seen when malnourished patients (especially chronic alcoholics) are given large amounts of carbohydrates, which creates a high phosphorus demand by cells, removing phosphate from the blood (refeeding syndrome).
A very interesting observation on hypophosphatemia was made historically in concentration camp victims who died soon after being re-fed: it was observed that those given milk (high in phosphate) had a higher survival rate than those who did not get milk.