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Q: I was just diagnosed with calcium deposits on my lungs. What is this?

A: Calcium deposits in the lungs (also called pulmonary calcifications) are usually detected by a chest X-ray or CT scan. They may be due a long list of causes, including:

  • Infection For example, pneumonia or tuberculosis exposure (or just about any lung infection) may lead to scar tissue that, over time, develops calcification.

  • Trauma or bleeding in the lung

  • Lung nodules or tumors, especially ones that are non-cancerous (benign)

  • Radiation treatment

  • Metastatic calcification With this condition, calcium collects abnormally throughout the body, including in the lungs. People with kidney failure who have dialysis often have this condition.

  • Disorders causing high blood calcium For example, hyperparathyroidism is a hormonal disorder that may cause high blood calcium and calcium deposits in a variety of organs.

  • Asbestos exposure

Calcium deposits in the lungs are often of no importance. In many cases, the cause may be uncertain despite extensive testing. However, details about the appearance of the deposits in your lungs on X-rays or CT scans can provide valuable clues, so talk to your doctors to find out what, if anything, you should do to evaluate your condition further.