Calcification is a process in which calcium builds up in body tissue, causing the tissue to harden. This can be a normal or abnormal process.
Ninety-nine percent of calcium entering the body is deposited in bones and teeth. The remaining calcium dissolves in the blood.
When a disorder affects the balance between calcium and certain chemicals in the body, calcium can be deposited in other parts of the body, such as the arteries, kidneys, lungs, and brain. Calcium deposits can cause problems with how these blood vessels and organs work. Calcifications can usually be seen on x-rays. A common example is calcium depositing in the arteries as part of atherosclerosis. Another example is calcium depositing in an area of long term inflammation such as a heel spur in the foot.
Merriam-Webster's Medical Dictionary. Calcification.
Last reviewed on: 7/25/2022
Reviewed by: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Clinical Professor, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David C. Dugdale, MD, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.