Calcification

Definition

Calcification is a process in which calcium builds up in body tissue, causing the tissue to harden. This can be a normal or abnormal process.

Information

Ninety-nine percent (99%) of calcium entering the body is deposited in bones and teeth. The remaining calcium dissolves in the blood.

When a disorder affects the balance between calcium and certain chemicals in the body, calcium can be deposited in other parts of the body such as arteries, kidneys, lungs, and brain. Calcium deposits in these parts of the body can cause problems with how these blood vessels and organs work. Calcifications can usually be seen on x-rays. A common example is calcium depositing in arteries as part of atherosclerosis.

See also: Mineral metabolism disorders

References

Kumar V, Abbas AK, Fausto N, Aster JC. Cellular responses to stress and toxic insults: adaptation, injury, and death. In: Kumar V, Abbas AK, Fausto N, Aster JC, eds. Robbins and Cotran Pathologic Basis of Disease. 87th ed. Philadelphia, Pa:Saunders Elsevier; 20095:chap 1.

Rosenberg AE. Bones, joints, and soft tissue tumors. In:Kumar V, Abbas AK, Fausto N, Aster JC, eds. Robbins and Cotran Pathologic Basis of Disease. 87th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 20095:chap 26.

Review Date:8/30/2012

Reviewed by:David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.

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