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What is calcification of the abdominal aorta?

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Quick Answer

Calcification of the abdominal aorta is a medical condition characterized by the buildup of calcified plaque on the inner walls of the aorta, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. This aorta is in the abdominal region above the renal artery that supplies the kidneys.

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Full Answer

The calcification of the aortic wall begins with the presence of fat deposits or streaks on the inner wall of the aorta, which is the largest artery in the human body. These streaks become lesions that tend to become calcified, leading to ulceration and hemorrhaging that may result in a heart attack, according to the American Heart Association. Calcification of the thoracic aorta is the result of the gradual deposition of calcium and cholesterol as part of the aging process.

The calcification of the abdominal aorta and the resultant atherosclerosis have also been linked to osteoporosis, a study by the AHA reports. The risk and presence of cardiovascular disease and other lifestyle factors, such as obesity, cigarette smoking, alcohol intake and level of exercise, have a significant influence on the calcification of the abdominal aorta, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. Reduced bone density of the lumbar vertebrae and the presence of large fat masses have also been linked to the calcification of the abdominal aortic wall, an NIH study suggests.

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