What exactly is calcification of the aorta?
Asked by maryloooo on Mar 05, 2009 in Health Conditions



In passing, my orthopedic doctor mentioned that I had some calcification of the aorta when looking at my back xray.  Of course, he then left the room and went on his merry way.  I wonder what this means.


Answer

The aorta is the large artery that carries oxygen-rich blood from the heart to arteries of the limbs and organs.  When the aorta calcifies, deposits of hardened calcium, fat, cholesterol, and foreign material build in the walls.  Aortic calcification is part of the condition arteriosclerosis, or "hardening of the arteries", and it is not unusual with age.  It is managed with medications and a low cholesterol diet.  If the calcium deposits thicken and narrow the aortic valve to impair blood flow, surgery may be needed.  Yesterday, former first lady, Barbara Bush, had her aortic valve replaced due to advanced calcification.


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