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an attitude of the body. Good posture cannot be defined by a rigid formula; it is usually considered to be the natural and comfortable bearing of the body in normal, healthy persons. This means that in a standing position the body is naturally, but not rigidly, straight, and that in a sitting position the back is comfortably straight. Good standing and sitting posture helps promote normal functioning of the body's organs and increases the efficiency of the muscles, thereby minimizing fatigue.

Maintenance of good posture for a patient confined to bed or wheelchair is essential to the patient's general well-being and also is important in the prevention of deformities of the muscles and bones. The patient should be observed for evidence of “slumping,” in which the normal curves of the spine are exaggerated. The rib cage should be supported so that the ribs are elevated and there is no constriction of the chest wall. Pillows are arranged under the shoulders and head so that the chin is not forced downward on the chest. Excessive extension of the ankles should be avoided by adequate support against the soles of the feet. The legs should be supported so that the weight of one does not fall on the other. The arms are supported so that they do not lie across the chest or pull the shoulders into a rounded position. Frequent changing of position and adequate exercise of the limbs are also essential to the maintenance of good posture and the prevention of deformities.
A, Left, Good sitting posture: the spine and feet are in normal positions and the weight of the body is equally distributed. Right, Slouching puts too much weight on the end of the spine, compresses internal organs, strains muscles, and interferes with the circulation in the legs. B, Correct standing posture, center, is easy and natural. The chest is slightly raised and the buttocks are tucked in. Left, Too rigid posture. Keeping the spine unnaturally straight can cause strain on the knees and back muscles. Right, Slumping can lead to backache and round shoulders.
Miller-Keane Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing, and Allied Health, Seventh Edition. © 2003 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier, Inc. All rights reserved.

calcium acetate

Phos-Ex (UK), PhosLo, PhosLo Gelcap

calcium carbonate

Adcal (UK), Alka-Mints, Cacit (UK), Calcarb 600, Calci-Chew, Calci-Mix, Caltrate 600, Children's Pepto Chooz, Florical, Maalox Regular Chewable, Mylanta Children's, Nephro-Calci, Nu-Cal (CA), Os-Cal, Os-Cal 500, Oysco, Oyst-Cal 500, Oystercal 500, Rapeze (UK), Remegel (UK), Rennie Soft Chews (UK), Rolaids Calcium Rich, SeapCal (UK), Setlers (UK), Tums, Tums E-X, Tums Ultra

calcium chloride

Calciject (CA), Cal-San (CA), Cal-500 (CA) Calcarea (CA), Calciforte (CA), Cal Supp (CA)

calcium citrate

Cal-C-Caps, Cal-CEE

calcium gluconate

calcium lactate

tricalcium phosphate


Pharmacologic class: Mineral

Therapeutic class: Dietary supplement, electrolyte replacement agent

Pregnancy risk category C (calcium acetate, chloride, glubionate, gluceptate, phosphate), NR (calcium carbonate, citrate, gluconate, lactate)


Increases serum calcium level through direct effects on bone, kidney, and GI tract. Decreases osteoclastic osteolysis by reducing mineral release and collagen breakdown in bone.


Calcium acetate-

Gelcaps: 667 mg

Tablets: 667 mg

Calcium carbonate-

Capsules: 1,250 mg

Lozenges: 600 mg

Oral suspension: 1,250 mg

Powder: 6.5 g

Tablets: 650 mg, 1,250 mg, 1,500 mg

Tablets (chewable): 750 mg, 1,000 mg, 1,250 mg

Tablets (gum): 300 mg, 450 mg, 500 mg

Calcium chloride-

Injection: 10% solution

Calcium citrate-

Tablets: 950 mg

Calcium gluceptate-

Injection: 22% solution

Calcium gluconate-

Injection: 10% solution

Tablets: 500 mg, 650 mg, 975 mg

Calcium lactate-

Tablets: 325 mg, 650 mg

Tricalcium phosphate-

Tablets: 600 mg

Indications and dosages

Hypocalcemic emergency

Adults: 7 to 14 mEq I.V. of 10% calcium gluconate solution, 2% to 10% calcium chloride solution, or 22% calcium gluceptate solution

Children: 1 to 7 mEq calcium gluconate I.V.

Infants: Up to 1 mEq calcium gluconate I.V.

Hypocalcemic tetany

Adults: 4.5 to 16 mEq calcium gluconate I.V., repeated as indicated until tetany is controlled

Children: 0.5 to 0.7 mEq/kg calcium gluconate I.V. three to four times daily as indicated until tetany is controlled

Neonates: 2.4 mEq/kg calcium gluconate I.V. daily in divided doses

Cardiac arrest

Adults: 0.027 to 0.054 mEq/kg calcium chloride I.V., 4.5 to 6.3 mEq calcium gluceptate I.V., or 2.3 to 3.7 mEq calcium gluconate I.V.

Children: 0.27 mEq/kg calcium chloride I.V., repeated in 10 minutes if needed. Check calcium level before giving additional doses.

Magnesium intoxication

Adults: Initially, 7 mEq I.V.; subsequent dosages based on patient response

Exchange transfusions

Adults: 1.35 mEq calcium gluconate I.V. with each 100 ml of citrated blood

Hyperphosphatemia in patients with end-stage renal disease

Adults: Two tablets P.O. daily, given in divided doses t.i.d. with meals. May increase gradually to bring serum phosphate level below 6 mg/dl, provided hypercalcemia doesn't develop.

Dietary supplement

Adults: 500 mg to 2 g P.O. daily

Off-label uses

• Osteoporosis


• Hypersensitivity to drug

• Ventricular fibrillation

• Hypercalcemia and hypophosphatemia

• Cancer

• Renal calculi

• Pregnancy or breastfeeding


Use cautiously in:

• renal insufficiency, pernicious anemia, heart disease, sarcoidosis, hyperparathyroidism, hypoparathyroidism

• history of renal calculi

• children.


When infusing I.V., don't exceed a rate of 200 mg/minute.

• Keep patient supine for 15 minutes after I.V. administration to prevent orthostatic hypotension.

• Administer P.O. doses 1 to 1½ hours after meals.

• Know that I.M. or subcutaneous administration is never recommended.

• Be aware that I.V. route is preferred in children.

• Be alert for extravasation, which causes tissue necrosis.

Adverse reactions

CNS: headache, weakness, dizziness, syncope, paresthesia

CV: mild blood pressure decrease, bradycardia, arrhythmias, cardiac arrest (with rapid I.V. injection)

GI: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, epigastric pain or discomfort

GU: urinary frequency, renal calculi

Metabolic: hypercalcemia

Musculoskeletal: joint pain, back pain

Respiratory: dyspnea

Skin: rash

Other: altered or chalky taste, excessive thirst, allergic reactions (including facial flushing, swelling, tingling, tenderness in hands, and anaphylaxis)


Drug-drug. Atenolol, fluoroquinolones, tetracycline: decreased bioavailability of these drugs

Calcium channel blockers: decreased calcium effects

Cardiac glycosides: increased risk of cardiac glycoside toxicity

Iron salts: decreased iron absorption

Sodium polystyrene sulfonate: metabolic alkalosis

Verapamil: reversal of verapamil effects

Drug-diagnostic tests. Calcium: increased level

Drug-food. Foods containing oxalic acid (such as spinach), phytic acid (such as whole grain cereal), or phosphorus (such as dairy products): interference with calcium absorption

Patient monitoring

• Monitor calcium levels frequently, especially in elderly patients.

Patient teaching

• Instruct patient to consume plenty of milk and dairy products during therapy.

• Refer patient to dietitian for help in meal planning and preparation.

• As appropriate, review all other significant and life-threatening adverse reactions and interactions, especially those related to the drugs, tests, and foods mentioned above.

McGraw-Hill Nurse's Drug Handbook, 7th Ed. Copyright © 2013 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved


(pos'tyūr, pos'cher),
The position of the limbs or the carriage of the body as a whole.
[L. positura, fr. pono, pp. positus, to place]
Farlex Partner Medical Dictionary © Farlex 2012


a. A position of a person's body or body parts: a sitting posture; the posture of a supplicant.
b. A characteristic way of bearing one's body; carriage: stooped posture.
2. Zoology A position of an animal's body or body parts, especially for the purpose of communication: a dog's submissive posture.
v. pos·tured, pos·turing, pos·tures
1. To assume a certain, often exaggerated body position; pose.
2. Zoology To assume a certain position of the body or of body parts, often as part of a display.

pos′tur·al adj.
pos′tur·er, pos′tur·ist n.
The American Heritage® Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2007, 2004 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.


Medtalk A position of the body. See Decerebrate posture, Decorticate posture, Fetal posture.
McGraw-Hill Concise Dictionary of Modern Medicine. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


The position of the limbs or the carriage of the body as a whole.
[L. positura, fr. pono, pp. positus, to place]
Medical Dictionary for the Health Professions and Nursing © Farlex 2012


(pos'chur) [Italian postura, fr. L. positura, fr. ponere, to place]
Attitude or position of the body.

coiled posture

Posture in which the body is on one side with legs drawn up to meet the trunk. It is used sometimes during lumbar punctures.

decerebrate posture

A rigid posture of stiff, extended arms, pronated forearms, and exaggerated deep tendon reflexes. It is a posture of a patient who has lost cerebral control of spinal reflexes, usually as a result of an intracranial catastrophe.

decorticate posture

A rigid posture of flexed arms, clenched fists, and extended legs. It is the characteristic posture of a patient with a lesion at or above the upper brainstem.
Synonym: decorticate rigidity

dorsal rigid posture

Posture in which the patient lies on the back with both legs drawn up. This is a position that is maintained by some patients suffering the pain of peritonitis.
Enlarge picture

hyperlordotic posture

Increased lumbar lordosis without compensation in the thoracic or cervical spine. It is a component of the condition colloquially referred to as sway-back. See: illustration

kyphosis-lordosis posture

A stance in which the pelvis is tilted forward, causing hip flexion, increased lumbar lordosis, and thoracic kyphosis.

modified plantigrade posture

A standing position with the lower extremities on the ground and the upper extremities bearing weight on a table or other surface. The body weight is stabilized on all four extremities. This posture is used developmentally and in physical therapy to prepare for independent standing and gait.

open posture

Positioning the body with the torso leaning toward the person being addressed, the arms at one's sides, and the chest, abdomen, and lower extremities easily seen. This form of body positioning during communication implies that one is actively listening and emotionally available to the client or patient. By contrast, a closed posture (in which one leans back, crosses one's arms on the chest and crosses the legs) implies that a person is less receptive to the other person.

orthopnea posture

Posture in which the patient sits upright, hands or elbows resting upon some support; seen in asthma, emphysema, dyspnea, ascites, effusions into the pleural and pericardial cavities, and congestive heart failure.

orthotonos posture

Posture in which the neck and trunk are extended rigidly in a straight line; seen in tetanus, strychnine poisoning, rabies, and meningitis.

prone posture


semireclining posture

Posture used instead of lying supine, by patients who are short of breath, e.g., because of heart failure.

slouched posture

Swayback posture.

standard posture

The skeletal alignment accepted as normal; used for evaluating posture. There is equilibrium around the line of gravity and the least amount of stress and strain on supporting muscles, joints, and ligaments. From either the front or the back, a plumb bob would bisect the body equally. From the side, a plumb bob would be anterior to the lateral malleolus and the axis of the knee, posterior to the axis of the hip and the apex of the coronal suture, and through the bodies of the lumbar vertebrae, the tip of the shoulder, the bodies of the cervical vertebrae, and the external auditory meatus.

swayback posture

A relaxed stance in which the pelvis is shifted forward, resulting in hip extension, and the thorax is shifted backward, resulting in an increased thoracic kyphosis and forward head.
Synonym: slouched posture
Medical Dictionary, © 2009 Farlex and Partners


The relationship of different parts of the body to each other and to the vertical. In youth, posture is fully under voluntary control. Faulty posture tends to become permanent and may affect health as well as appearance.
Collins Dictionary of Medicine © Robert M. Youngson 2004, 2005