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Tetany vs. Tetanus — What's the Difference?

Edited by Tayyaba Rehman — By Fiza Rafique — Updated on September 21, 2023
Tetany is a medical condition characterized by involuntary muscle spasms often due to low calcium levels. Tetanus is a bacterial infection causing severe muscle stiffness and spasms, usually from a wound contaminated by Clostridium tetani bacteria.
Tetany vs. Tetanus — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Tetany and Tetanus

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Key Differences

Tetany is a medical syndrome characterized by tingling, numbness, and muscle spasms, commonly due to low levels of calcium in the blood. It may occur in various situations such as hyperventilation, malnutrition, or vitamin D deficiency. On the other hand, tetanus is an infection caused by the bacteria Clostridium tetani, which is often contracted through puncture wounds or other injuries that become contaminated.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 21, 2023
The primary symptoms of tetany often include muscle cramps, spasms, and twitching in extremities like the hands and feet. It's more about biochemical imbalances in the body. Tetanus, however, results in severe muscle stiffness, starting from the jaw and progressing downwards. The stiffness may become so severe that it leads to lockjaw and other complications.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 21, 2023
While tetany is typically treated with calcium supplementation and treatment of the underlying cause, the management of tetanus requires more aggressive interventions like tetanus immunoglobulin, antibiotics, and sometimes surgical removal of the infected tissue. Tetanus is preventable through vaccination, whereas there's no vaccine for tetany.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 21, 2023
Tetany does not necessarily result from bacterial contamination and is generally not life-threatening if managed promptly. Tetanus, however, is often a medical emergency that requires immediate attention, as it can lead to respiratory failure and death if left untreated.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 21, 2023

Comparison Chart

Cause

Low calcium levels, hyperventilation
Bacterial infection (Clostridium tetani)
Fiza Rafique
Sep 21, 2023
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Symptoms

Muscle cramps, tingling, spasms
Muscle stiffness, lockjaw, spasms
Fiza Rafique
Sep 21, 2023

Treatment

Calcium supplements, address underlying cause
Tetanus immunoglobulin, antibiotics, surgery
Fiza Rafique
Sep 21, 2023

Prevention

Address underlying conditions
Tetanus vaccine
Fiza Rafique
Sep 21, 2023

Severity

Generally not life-threatening
Can be life-threatening
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Sep 21, 2023

Compare with Definitions

Tetany

A symptom of low calcium levels.
Tetany can occur when blood calcium levels drop too low.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 21, 2023

Tetanus

Preventable by vaccination.
A tetanus vaccine can prevent the condition.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 21, 2023

Tetany

A condition causing involuntary muscle spasms.
The patient was diagnosed with tetany due to hypocalcemia.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 21, 2023

Tetanus

A bacterial infection causing muscle stiffness.
Stepping on a rusty nail put him at risk for tetanus.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 21, 2023

Tetany

Characterized by tingling and numbness.
The patient felt tingling in the hands, a common sign of tetany.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 21, 2023

Tetanus

Caused by Clostridium tetani bacteria.
The wound was infected with Clostridium tetani, leading to tetanus.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 21, 2023

Tetany

Often related to hyperventilation.
The hyperventilation led to acute tetany.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 21, 2023

Tetanus

Known for causing lockjaw.
The tetanus infection led to lockjaw.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 21, 2023

Tetany

Generally treatable with calcium supplements.
Calcium supplements can usually alleviate the symptoms of tetany.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 21, 2023

Tetanus

Tetanus, also known as lockjaw, is a bacterial infection characterized by muscle spasms. In the most common type, the spasms begin in the jaw and then progress to the rest of the body.
Fiza Rafique
Mar 03, 2018

Tetany

Tetany or tetanic seizure is a medical sign consisting of the involuntary contraction of muscles, which may be caused by disorders that increase the action potential frequency of muscle cells or the nerves that innervate them. Muscle cramps caused by the disease tetanus are not classified as tetany; rather, they are due to a lack of inhibition to the neurons that supply muscles.
Fiza Rafique
Mar 03, 2018

Tetanus

A bacterial disease marked by rigidity and spasms of the voluntary muscles.
Fiza Rafique
Mar 03, 2018

Tetany

A condition marked by intermittent muscular spasms, caused by malfunction of the parathyroid glands and a consequent deficiency of calcium.
Fiza Rafique
Mar 03, 2018

Tetanus

The prolonged contraction of a muscle caused by rapidly repeated stimuli.
Fiza Rafique
Mar 03, 2018

Tetany

An abnormal condition characterized by periodic painful muscular spasms and tremors, caused by faulty calcium metabolism and associated with diminished function of the parathyroid glands.
Fiza Rafique
Mar 03, 2018

Tetanus

An acute, often fatal disease characterized by spasmodic contraction of voluntary muscles, especially those of the neck and jaw, and caused by the toxin of the bacterium Clostridium tetani, which typically infects the body through a deep wound. Also called lockjaw.
Fiza Rafique
Mar 03, 2018

Tetany

(medicine) A condition characterized by painful muscular spasms, caused by faulty calcium metabolism
Fiza Rafique
Mar 03, 2018

Tetanus

(Physiology) A state of continuous muscular contraction, especially when induced artificially by rapidly repeated stimuli.
Fiza Rafique
Mar 03, 2018

Tetany

A morbid condition resembling tetanus, but distinguished from it by being less severe and having intermittent spasms.
Fiza Rafique
Mar 03, 2018

Tetanus

A serious and often fatal disease caused by the infection of an open wound with the anaerobic bacterium Clostridium tetani, found in soil and the intestines and faeces of animals.
Fiza Rafique
Mar 03, 2018

Tetany

Clinical neurological syndrome characterized by muscular twitching and cramps and (when severe) seizures; associated with calcium deficiency (hypoparathyroidism) or vitamin D deficiency or alkalosis
Fiza Rafique
Mar 03, 2018

Tetanus

A state of muscle tension caused by sustained contraction arising from a rapid series of nerve impulses which do not allow the muscle to relax.
Fiza Rafique
Mar 03, 2018

Tetanus

A painful and usually fatal disease, resulting generally from a wound, and having as its principal symptom persistent spasm of the voluntary muscles. When the muscles of the lower jaw are affected, it is called locked-jaw, or lickjaw, and it takes various names from the various incurvations of the body resulting from the spasm.
Fiza Rafique
Mar 03, 2018

Tetanus

That condition of a muscle in which it is in a state of continued vibratory contraction, as when stimulated by a series of induction shocks.
Fiza Rafique
Mar 03, 2018

Tetanus

An acute and serious infection of the central nervous system caused by bacterial infection of open wounds; spasms of the jaw and laryngeal muscles may occur during the late stages
Fiza Rafique
Mar 03, 2018

Tetanus

A sustained muscular contraction resulting from a rapid series of nerve impulses
Fiza Rafique
Mar 03, 2018

Tetanus

Can lead to severe complications.
Untreated tetanus can result in respiratory failure.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 21, 2023

Common Curiosities

What is tetanus?

Tetanus is a bacterial infection causing muscle stiffness and spasms.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 21, 2023

Is tetanus preventable?

Yes, tetanus is preventable through vaccination.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 21, 2023

How is tetany treated?

Treatment usually involves calcium supplementation and addressing the underlying cause.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 21, 2023

What are common triggers for tetany?

Low calcium levels and hyperventilation are common triggers.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 21, 2023

Is tetany life-threatening?

Generally, tetany is not life-threatening if treated promptly.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 21, 2023

How is tetanus diagnosed?

Tetanus is usually diagnosed based on symptoms and medical history.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 21, 2023

What is tetany?

Tetany is a medical condition causing muscle cramps and spasms, often due to low calcium levels.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 21, 2023

What are the symptoms of tetany?

Symptoms include muscle spasms, tingling, and cramps.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 21, 2023

Can tetanus be fatal?

Yes, untreated tetanus can be life-threatening.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 21, 2023

What is the tetanus vaccine?

The tetanus vaccine is an immunization that protects against the tetanus bacteria.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 21, 2023

What causes tetanus?

Tetanus is caused by Clostridium tetani bacteria, often entering the body through a wound.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 21, 2023

How quickly does tetanus develop?

Tetanus symptoms can appear within 3 to 21 days after infection.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 21, 2023

Is there a cure for tetanus?

There's no cure, but treatment can manage symptoms and complications.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 21, 2023

Can tetany be chronic?

Tetany is usually acute but can recur if underlying conditions aren't managed.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 21, 2023

Are there any tests for tetany?

Blood tests for calcium levels can help diagnose tetany.
Fiza Rafique
Sep 21, 2023

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Fiza Rafique
Fiza Rafique is a skilled content writer at AskDifference.com, where she meticulously refines and enhances written pieces. Drawing from her vast editorial expertise, Fiza ensures clarity, accuracy, and precision in every article. Passionate about language, she continually seeks to elevate the quality of content for readers worldwide.
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to askdifference.com. As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

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