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.
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.
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Rosenberg AE. Bones, joints, and soft tissue tumors. In: Kumar V, Abbas AK, Fausto N, eds. Robbins and Cotran Pathologic Basis of Disease. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2005:chap 26.
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., Inc.