Tetany is a symptom complex characterized by painful and prolonged contractions of the (generally smooth) muscles. These often appear as convulsions and are usually triggered by hypocalcemia. Adult varieties of the condition that result from calcium or magnesium deficiencies include maternal tetany, parathyroid tetany, osteomalacic tetany, and magnesium tetany. Alkalosis can also produce tetany. Examples include gastric tetany and hyperventilation tetany, following a lengthy period of forced inspiration and expiration. Another form of the disease — grass tetany caused by magnesium deficiency - is found in cattle. Despite these many forms, however, the disease occurs chiefly in infants (neonatal tetany) and young children (.infantile tetany) in whom it is normally associated with rickets. It affects males far more than females and, in the absence of proper treatment, frequently proves deadly.

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