If your doctor tells you that you have vascular calcifications, you\u2019re right to be concerned. Vascular calcifications are mineral deposits on the walls of your arteries and veins. These mineral deposits sometimes stick to fatty deposits, or plaques, that are already built up on the walls of a blood vessel.\nVascular calcifications are common but potentially serious. They can increase your risk of stroke and blood clots, according to Cardiovascular Research. It\u2019s important to learn what causes calcification in the body and how to treat it.\nContact the UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute or call 1-855-UPMC-HVI (876-2484) for screenings and appointments.\n \r\n \r\n Learn more about staying heart healthy \r\n \r\n Enter your email to subscribe\r\n \r\n \r\n\t \r\n \r\n Continue\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n I understand that by providing my email address, I agree to receive emails from UPMC. I understand that I may opt out of receiving such communications at any time.\r\n \r\n \r\n \nCalcifications can occur in the intimal (inside) or medial (middle layer) part of the blood vessel. Each location has different associated risks. Medial calcifications, for example, are most often associated with kidney disease, diabetes, hypertension, and advanced age. Intimal calcifications are associated with blocked arteries and blood clots.\nWhen calcifications in the breast are found during a mammogram, doctors examine these closely as they can signal breast cancer.\nIn the body, calcification is actually part of the aging process. Calcifications accumulate in the vessels, heart, or valves as calcium travels through the bloodstream.\nRisk Factors and Complications of Vascular Calcification\nPostmenopausal women with osteoporosis and people with type 1 or type \u00a02 diabetes or metabolic syndrome are at a greater risk of developing vascular calcifications. However, they are more common in those with chronic kidney disease.\nLong-term smoking and elevated LDL cholesterol levels are associated with an increase in the incidence of calcifications.\nAccording to the journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology, vascular calcifications can raise the rise of:\n\nHeart attack\nStroke\nDementia\nRenal insufficiency\nInadequate blood supply to arms and legs\n\nYou may not always notice symptoms of vascular calcification. If vascular calcification causes arteries to harden, the heart will have to work harder to pump blood. Eventually, you might develop symptoms of peripheral artery disease (PAD) or stroke. The most common PAD symptom is pain or cramping in your leg muscles when walking or climbing stairs. If plaque is dislodged, it can cause a stroke. Symptoms of a stroke include sudden weakness, confusion, or dizziness, along with vision and speech impairment.\nVascular Calcification Treatment and Prevention\nDoctors treat plaque-clogged blood vessels in a variety of ways, including vascular surgery and medicine.\nLifestyle changes \u2014 quitting smoking, eating healthier foods, and starting to exercise \u2014 can decrease the chances of plaque and calcifications forming. If you take calcium supplements, your doctor can advise the proper dosage or if you should continue taking them.\nUnfortunately, vascular calcification is common in those with chronic kidney disease and end-stage renal disease, especially when combined with risk factors such as smoking, advanced age, diabetes, and hypertension, according to a BioMed Research International study. For those patients, vascular calcification is thought to be irreversible.\nAsk your doctor about your risk factors for vascular calcifications and whether you need some type of screening. Contact the UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute or call 1-855-UPMC-HVI (876-2484) for screenings and appointments.