Arterial calcium deposits contribute to the development of artherosclerosis, which is the hardening and narrowing of your arteries. Combined with cholesterol plaque, calcium deposits can significantly increase your chance of coronary heart disease, heart attacks and strokes, according to the American Heart Association. Although the direct cause of calcium deposits is unknown, you can help to prevent and reduce complications of associated symptoms. Always speak to your doctor before making any changes to your diet or lifestyle, especially if you have any other health conditions.
Stop smoking. The AHA reports that cigarettes and exposure to tobacco smoke increase your chances of developing calcium deposits and arterial hardening.
De-stress your life and reduce your intake of sodium, which can cause hypertension, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. High blood pressure puts undue stress on your arteries, making them weaker over time and more susceptible to calcium buildup.
Increase your intake of vitamin K via supplements or healthy foods such as dark green leafy vegetables, broccoli and brussels sprouts. According to a 2007 study published in the "Journal of the American Society of Hematology," vitamin K blocks calcium deposits and may even reduce preexisting amounts by up to 37 percent.
Test yourself regularly for arterial calcium deposits. Generally, your physician will administer a coronary calcium scan, which takes pictures of your heart to search for any calcium deposits. Catching signs of calcification early can help prevent heart attack, stroke and other risks.
Eat dairy and other high-calcium foods in moderation. Not only is dairy often high in saturated fat, it also provides an immense amount of calcium. Too much dairy may not only cause an excess of calcium leading to arterial buildup, it may also increase your cholesterol and triglyceride levels, which are also factors in atherosclerosis. If you do eat dairy, choose low-fat or non-fat products and pay attention to your calcium intake. Do not exceed 1,000 to 1,200 milligrams of calcium per day, as per guidelines set by National Institute of Medicine. When calculating calcium intake, don't forget to include all food and supplement sources.
Exercise regularly and reduce your sugar intake. Obesity and type 2 diabetes are common factors in the development of arterial calcification, heart disease and a variety of other dangerous conditions. Maintaining your ideal weight and limiting your intake of sugar can help prevent calcium deposits over time.
Is This an Emergency?
- American Heart Association: Atherosclerosis
- National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute: Coronary Calcium Scan
- MedlinePlus: Vitamin K
- Circulation: Vitamin K Expoxide Reductase Complex and Vascular Calcification
- Journal of the American Society of Hematology: Regression of Warfarin-Induced Medial Elastocalcinosis by High Intake of Vitamin K in Ratsf
- National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute: What Is Coronary Heart Disease?
- National Institute of Medicine: Dietary Reference Intakes