Health Matters

The MRI or CT of your back shows Aortic Calcification – What Does This Mean?

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On these reports, radiologists frequently report “calcification of the abdominal aorta” as an incidental finding, especially in people over 50. The patient is often unaware that this finding has been made nor of its importance. It means patient’s major arteries are losing their normal elasticity, turning into bone.

Research shows that calcification of arterial walls truly ‘resembles bone formation’, with the same cells, proteins, cell-cell communication molecules used in bones. Studies demonstrate the presence bone forming cells and bone resorbing cells in vessel walls, new bone matrix proteins in the arterial wall, allowing crystallisation of calcium. In severe cases, fully formed bone is seen.

Such ‘cardiovascular calcification’ is a systemic disease, and is:
1. A marker of generalized vascular disease
2. Significantly associated with raised blood pressure (systolic) and (pulse)
3. A likely contributor to calcium loss from bone
4. An independent predictor of cardiovascular events such as:

a. heart attack, stroke,
b. bypass surgery,
c. balloon angioplasty,
d. stent placement,
e. and all-cause mortality
in both cardiovascular and renal patients.

A ‘Coronary Calcium Scan’ measures calcification of heart arteries. People with a calcium score over 400 are almost 15 times more likely to have cardiovascular disease than people with uncalcified arteries.

A 2004 double-blind placebo-controlled study looked at 181 postmenopausal women divided into three groups, who were given daily for three years either:
1. a placebo
2. minerals plus Vit D (500 mg calcium, 10 mg zinc, 150 mg magnesium 8 μg vitamin D3)
3. minerals plus Vit D, plus 1000 µg vitamin K1

After three years, the placebo and minerals plus vitamin D groups had worse arterial stiffness and higher pulse pressure. However, arteries of group receiving vitamin-K remained flexible (uncalcified), their pulse pressure normal.
Vitamin K is found in some greens and fermented foods and is very important for maintaining cardiovascular as well as bone and dental health. Yet most patients attending the clinic have never heard of vitamin K, nor which foods are good sources. Most will not be getting enough. If you’d like to know more about how diet can help keep bones, teeth, and blood vessels healthy, feel free to call us at the clinic.

Article Written + Submitted by:

Andreas Klein Nutritionist + Remedial Therapist from Beautiful Health + Wellness
P: 0418 166 269

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