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Coronary artery calcification is a collection of calcium in your heart’s two main arteries, also called your coronary arteries. This happens after you've had plaque (fat and cholesterol) forming in your arteries (atherosclerosis) for about five years.

Coronary artery calcification is an indicator of coronary artery disease and can give your healthcare provider information to help them assess your cardiovascular risk.

When plaque accumulates in your arteries, it makes it harder for blood to get through. Good blood flow is crucial in your coronary arteries because they supply oxygen-rich blood to your heart muscle. If blood can’t get through your coronary arteries, it can lead to chest pain and/or a heart attack.

Two types of coronary artery calcification

  • Intimal (in the intimal or inner artery layer). This type is more common in coronary arteries.
  • Medial (in the medial or middle artery layer).

Coronary artery calcification vs. atherosclerosis

The amount of calcification you have is an indicator of how bad your atherosclerosis may be. Atherosclerosis is the result of plaque collecting in your arteries, making them narrow. This makes it difficult for blood to get through your arteries.

Coronary artery calcification is a buildup of calcium that can predict your cardiovascular risk. Symptoms like chest pain usually don’t happen until you’ve had it for a while. Your healthcare provider has several options to remove the calcifications narrowing your coronary artery. Success rates are high, but there are risks with each treatment.
Knowing if you have coronary artery calcification can help your healthcare provider make a plan for how to help you. You may need a procedure to clear calcium deposits out of your coronary arteries or you just may need to pick up heart-healthy habits. Even if you don’t have cardiovascular issues, you can eat less fat, exercise more and avoid tobacco products to help keep yourself healthy.


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