What causes calcification?

Calcifications can be caused by inflammation or elevated levels of blood calcium, known as hypercalcemia. Calcification can be part of a normal healing response to musculoskeletal injuries. Calcifications are often found in arteries affected by arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), in benign and malignant breast processes, at sites of bone or cartilage injury, and sometimes within cancers. Other tissues may calcify following chronic inflammation or through mineralization of dead tissue (dystrophic calcification).

What are the risk factors for abnormal calcification?

Several factors increase the risk of developing abnormal calcification. Not all people with risk factors will get calcification. Risk factors for calcification include:

  • Alcoholism
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Genetic history of a calcium metabolism disorder
  • Internal tissue injuries that cause inflammatory reactions

INTRODUCTION

What is calcification?

Calcification is a gradual accumulation of calcium in an area of your body tissue. Most of the calcium absorbed by your body ends up in your bones and teeth, where it is most needed. Excess calcium is usually dissolved in the bloodstream for excretion in the urine, but it is normal for a certain amount to collect in an area of the body tissues; this collection of calcium then hardens the tissue... Read more about calcificationintroduction

SYMPTOMS

What are the symptoms of calcification?

Calcification often produces no symptoms. Instead, calcification is most frequently discovered on X-rays, including mammograms, for example. Some calcification is normal, but even disease-related calcification may not cause symptoms that you will detect.

You may, however, feel the effects of the underlying disorder or process that results in calcification. These symptoms will depe... Read more about calcificationsymptoms

TREATMENTS

How is calcification treated?

Calcification is generally not treatable and cannot be reversed. However, calcific band keratopathy, a calcification of the cornea of the eye, can be treated. In addition, disorders that are complications of or associated with calcification are often very treatable. Treatments vary depending on the calcium metabolism disorder itself.

What are the potential complications of... Read more about calcificationtreatments

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Aug 9, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Heart, Blood and Circulation