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Should I be worried about calcium on my arteries?

Q: I am 54 years old. I went to see a chiropractor for some back problems I was having. He took several sets of x-rays. As we were discussing my x-rays he happened to mention that I had some calcium deposits on my arteries. He told me not to worry about it, as it wasn't that bad. But now I am worried. I am currently taken medication for cholesterol and have regular check-ups. Is there something else that I should do? I exercise sometimes, but do it less often due to my back problem. I do swimming in summers and go to the gym in the winter. Please advise?

A:The calcium deposition in the arteries is not uncommon. Beyond the age of 50 it is fairly common. In itself the simple presence of the calcium does not have any serious significance, much depends on the amount and the site of deposition and what its effects on the target organ are. The arteries as they age and have damage from various factors do deposit calcium. The important message from this finding is a warning that one should take care of the factors which are responsible for the Arteriosclerosis (narrowing of the arteries) which is the condition that is responsible for the damage to the heart, brain and kidneys. The damage thus caused has long term implications, so one should try to limit this damage as far as possible. The gross deposition of the calcium does mainly occur in the diabetic damage of the blood vessels. The factors which are to be taken care of are as follows:-

  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Lack of exercise
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol or Lipids
  • Diabetes I would also suggest that the patient should have doppler for the neck arteries and Echo for the heart done to determine the present status for future reference and deciding the further course of the management.

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