Calcification: Is it the real cause of Inflammation and Chronic Disease?
An introduction to the causes and effects of soft tissue calcification (STC) showing the growing evidence linking STC to numerous diseases and conditions. For decades, STC has been recognized as a passive, after-the-fact process resulting from injury or old age, however with the advent of new technologies, many medical professionals are now realizing that STC may be the cause, instead of the effect, of many of our most common illnesses.
Date: 4/25/2007 12:11:15 PM ( 14 y ) ... viewed 8365 times
Calcium deposits in soft tissue (Soft Tissue Calcification, STC) are well known phenomena in the medical world. Unlike healthy calcification that is responsible for bones and teeth, STC is associated with numerous diseases and conditions that pose serious health concerns. The medical community, in general, has known about soft tissue calcification (STC) for more than a century. Surgeons see it when they cut, radiologists see it on X ray films and CT scans, and we see and feel it’s effects in kidney and gall stones. However, even in light of recent compelling evidence, the medical community doesn’t seem to be doing anything about it.
Historically, health care practitioners have mainly considered the process of STC to be passive and secondary to many of the disease in which it is associated. Mounting research, however is begging to paint a new picture wherein STC may actually be the cause of many diseases. A recent study by the Department of Nephrology and Clinical Immunology in Aachen, Germany states that “calcification at unwanted tissue sites leads to dysfunction, disease and, potentially, to death and therefore requires prevention and treatment.” Why?
The health harards regarding STC are not limited to the fact that calcium phosphate deposition hardens our soft tissues, making them rigid and sometimes painful as in arthritis, but also that the calcium phosphate matrix is literally a bioactive substrate laying in wait to turn on some of your bodies most dangerous proteins and to use them against you.
Consider this: there are over 3000 calcium binding proteins in your body that travel through the circulatory and lymphatic system. These proteins rely on the binding of calcium in order to become active and perform its specific function. Many of these calcium binding proteins have extremely important tasks including precursors for inflammation, clotting, and other immunologic functions. The first large scale proteomic mapping of atherosclerotic plaques was recently completed at the University of Connecticut. The study, due to publish in May 2007, is reported to show various new proteins associated with plaque.
A recent study conducted at Baylor College, Department of Medicine, TX wherein researchers evaluated carotid plaque showed a direct correlation between the degree of calcification of the plaque and the proteins therein. Basically, they proved that the more calcification, the more proteins. A study published by the American Heart Association showed, definitively, the active inflammatory response by macrophages to basic calcium phosphate crystals and its implications for atherosclerosis and pathogenesis. Still another study from 2005 linked elevated calcium phosphate (calcification) to elevated High C-reactive protein (common marker for inflammation) concentrations in 47 uremic patients.
STC has been linked to many disease states, including: Alzheimer’s, Arthritis, Bone spurs, Breast calcification, Calcinosis cutis (calcium deposits in the skin), Cancer (bone, brain, breast, colon, prostate, and ovarian), Cataracts, Deafness from middle ear ossification, Diabetes, Gallstones, Glaucoma, Heart disease, notably arteriosclerosis and atherosclerosis, Kidney stones, cysts, polycystic kidney disease (PKD), Liver cysts, Macular degeneration, Meniere’s disease, Prostatitis, Psoriasis, Salivary gland stones, Sclerderma (hardening of the skin), Stroke, Tendinitis.
So why has the link between Calcification and inflammation/disease state not been addressed more aggressively in this country?
Perhaps it’s due to the inherent resistance within the medical community to change, or that a large Pharma company has not spent billions on marketing a drug to address STC? Perhaps it’s the fact that medical science may not know how to address STC?
Regardless, there ARE steps one can take to help address STC, and the most headway in this area seems to be taking place in the realm of dietary supplements.
Available, packaged treatments for soft tissue calcification are relatively rare right now; however there are a couple companies that offer treatments. They range from compounded pharmaceuticals to specialty, condition specific dietary supplements. A handful of companies found of the web are ahead of the curve, offering all natural products to help with soft tissue calcification.
The most reputable protocols seem to involve a step wise system that entails some type of chelating action followed by balancing the body’s minerals and helping the body’s natural calcium “helpers” make sure that calcium (and other minerals) is used correctly, and in the right parts of the body, i.e., the bones. Some web sites I visited also encouraged the use of antioxidants that help to neutralize free radical damage.
As more data regarding soft tissue calcification is accepted by the medical community, the diagnosis and treatments will become more available. I will continue to post updates regarding STC and various treatment options.
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