Vascular calcification in the abdominal aorta is caused by the build-up of plaque on the inner surface area of the arteries, according to Oregon Surgical Specialists. This stifles blood flow by preventing muscles from receiving enough oxygen and nutrients due to a layer of calcium narrowing the blood vessels.
Vascular calcification has two classifications: intimal and medial. The distinction specifies the arterial layer where the calcification is occurring, states the European Journal of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery. Vascular intimal is an indicator of advanced sclerosis, and is caused by issues such as diabetes mellitus, smoking, hypertension and aging. Medial calcification, also known as Monckeberg sclerosis, is a separate issue that can be caused by an imbalance in the metabolism, electrolytes and pH of the body.