Calciphylaxis is the accumulation of calcium in the blood vessels of the skin and fatty tissue. Calcium also builds up in the arterioles, the smallest parts of the arteries. The affected tissue is located just beneath the skin, around internal organs, in bone marrow, and in the breast, as well as within the muscular system. The calcium hardens, blocking vessels and arterioles, which slows or stops blood flow and often forms blood clots. Cells become deprived of oxygen they need to survive, which negatively affects the surrounding tissue. The spread of calciphylaxis is quick and painful.
The cause of calciphylaxis is unknown at this time. Originally, doctors thought the onset of kidney disease caused it. However, people with healthy renal systems also develop calciphylaxis. How the body breaks down calcium may be a factor, as might problems with blood clot formation or the body's ability to prevent calcium buildup. Also linked to calciphylaxis are abnormal vitamin and hormone levels.
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