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calcification
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calcification

Hello doctor, thanks for taking the question, which is, what causes calcification of arteries and/or heart valves? Is it faulty diet, faulty metabolism or part of the ageing (aging) process or even genetic?  Is it a preventable condition? and can it be reversed once it's presence has been identified?  (Uncle has heart problems) Thankyou for your time.
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Hi Cuaco,

Thanks for posting.

1.  what causes calcification of arteries and/or heart valves?  Is it faulty diet, faulty metabolism or part of the ageing (aging) process or even genetic?

It is possibly caused by all three mechanisms you mentioned above, but to verying degrees in individuals.  The real answer is we are just not sure yet what causes these calcifications.  There is a subset of the populatons that doesn't get them and a subset that develops calcification very early in life.  It will likely come down to genetics and be influenced by lifestyle, but the verdict is out.


2. Is it a preventable condition?

The best advice I can give there is to do what you can--don't smoke, watch your diet and avoid saturated fats (ie virtually all fast foods), exercise, and control your modifiable risk factors like blood pressure, weight, cholesterol, control you blood sugar if you are diabetic.  We are enrolling patients in a study to see if statins like atorvastatin (Lipator) prevent or decrease the rate of valvular calcifcation.

3. can it be reversed once it's presence has been identified?

Again, the best advice I can give is above.

I hope this helps and good luck.
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Hi.  As for reversing the calcification, Dr. Dean Ornish has proven that by following all 3 components of his lifestyle changes, just like the CCF Doctor mentioned in the post, it is very possible to reverse heart disease.
Very low fat (less than 10 %) vegetarian diet, eercise, and stress control are his 3 components.
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