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How can calcium affect my risk of atherosclerosis?

While calcium is an essential building block for the body, calcium can also be used as a marker for identifying atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), which is the leading cause of heart attacks, stroke and peripheral artery disease.

Coronary calcium is a marker for plaque in the coronary arteries, and if you are middle-aged with at least two risk factors for heart disease (including diabetes, smoking, hypertension, high cholesterol and a family history of early coronary), coronary calcium may indicate an increased risk of a future coronary event.

Almost everyone with atherosclerosis has some calcium buildup. Since atherosclerosis is the predominant cause of heart attacks and strokes, calcium buildup in your coronary or carotid arteries could be a warning of future cardiovascular events.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.