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Calcium Deposits
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sher1222 posted:
Can someone please explain to me what are calcium deposits? I had gone to the emergency room some time ago and they gave me a ct scan. But it was read, but apparently not by someone who should have read it. Anyways, I got home a few hours later, and there was a message on my vm that I needed to go back to the hospital that they think they seen something. That was the most horrible thing I could have ever heard at the time. I went, they admitted me. A MRI was to take place the following morning. To come find out it was calcium deposits, but never really explained to me. Can someone try to? Thank you, Sherri
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RedBear2005 responded:
Calcium deposits in the brain are small spots of mineral that precipitate out of the blood stream and central nervous system fluid. They can occur in many places within the brain. Their medical significance can range from "none" to "potentially severe" with regard to the processes that naturally go on in the brain. It depends on where they are and how many of them there are. In some cases, such deposits can be associated with specific medical disorders that may need to be treated.

It may help those who respond to queries in this forum, to know for what reason you went to the emergency room and why you were given a CT scan while there. Were you injured? Had you fallen or had symptoms of stroke? Were you having severe headaches?

I can only shake my head sadly over the poor state of training that someone at the ER must have had, when they left an urgent message on your voice machine with such potentially disturbing news, but THEN did not qualify the message or inform you of the basis for concern. Such an experience can be profoundly anxiety producing. It is also unclear why anyone thought you needed to be admitted overnight, when MRI is much more typically done as an out patient procedure at a local MRI center rather than a hospital.

You imply that your follow-up MRI was done, and obviously you are no longer in the hospital. If it has been a week and you still haven't been informed of a diagnosis or evaluation results, then I'd advise you to call the hospital and raise merry hell until somebody sits up and pays attention. Start with the office of the Chief Resident and work your way down to the Director of the Emergency Room. You are owed some serious apologies for the cavalier manner in which you have been treated as a person, as well as some definitive explanations of exactly what the findings from the medical imagery were and what they may imply concerning your future treatment.

Feel free to come back to the forum with additional questions. I may also be reached directly through my website. Please note the disclaimer in my signature line, below.

Go in Peace and Power
 
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sher1222 responded:
THANK GOD YOU REPLIED! I was hoping that it would have been you and not anyone sending me to the chiropractor. I went because of the headaches. And I fully agree with you re: the manner. Since my mothers sickness, I've come familiar with the "HOSPITAL PEOPLE". Also re: not to put up with much crap either. Im sure that i will have more questions for you.

Thank you very much, Sherri
 
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RedBear2005 responded:
To continue our dialog, Sherri, has any medical professional sat down with you and explained the nature, distribution, and significance of the calcium deposits found in your imagery? You're going to need that information as you proceed.

Regards
 
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sher1222 responded:
No. I suffer from migraines, and have tried alot of the meds that are out there. I also am a diabetic since 11/05 and on insulin, but on some other meds. Since the diabetes, alot has been discovered and it seems like everytime I go to the doctor I have something to say to her. My problem is that I hold back on some things because I don't want to seem like a hypochondriac. (if thats the correct spelling)..I know I shouldn't do that but diabetes affects everything that I did not realize it would. Sherri
 
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RedBear2005 responded:
Sherri , a couple of thoughts occur to me here, if I may share...

In daily life it is said that the squeaky wheel gets the grease. There's truth in the observation. Perhaps especially in a medical relationship, there is a balance to be struck between over- and under-disclosure. Right now I would surmise that you have under-reported things that your physician needed to hear from you in order to best manage your care. Diabetes isn't a trivial disorder -- and yes, it can affect multiple dimensions of your life. But I suspect your concern about seeming to be a hypochondriac is a bit over-blown and has existed since well before you learned of your condition. This is something for you to improve upon.

Ask any competent doctor and he or she will tell you: patients who become active participants in their own treatment management, tend to have consistently better long-term outcomes than those who hold back from shyness or hesitance to appear aggressive in seeking treatment. Doctors see very few true Münchhausen's Syndrome patients, and they generally recognize the differences between anxious concern and obsession. You're anxious. There's no crime in that. Your doctor knows that.

Before you go to your next appointment, there is something you can do to help both the doc and yourself. Sit down in advance and write out the primary issues or medical events on which you want her advice and treatment counsel. The list should fit on one page, and it should be based on a combination both of paying attention to what's happening in your body systems, and studying medical information with attention online or elsewhere. If you don't trust your own ability to stay focused on your list during the appointment, then ask somebody you trust to accompany you as your advocate and note taker. A good doctor won't object, and will actively appreciate your efforts to maintain focus.

If you've read any of my posts here at WebMD, then you've probably figured out that I am a very difficult patient. I don't believe in taking stuff and nonsense from *anybody*, and at times I deserve my nickname "Bear". My approach to medical practitioners might not fit with your own personal style, and that's fine. Regardless, I encourage you to act more consistently in requiring explanations of issues that have come up in your medical care - specifically the abnormalities noted in your recent brain imagery . If need be, get some help in wringing those explanations out of medical service providers who seem not to have been properly trained. There are occasionally situations where the best and most valid thing to do is to (figuratively) kick tail and take names. I think you're in the midst of one of those situations.

Go in Peace and Power
 
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Nanny29602 responded:
Are calcium deposits the same as brain lesions or white spots?
 
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Nanny29602 responded:
Hey redbear, I like your approach when you say "kick tail and take names". I've been through some doctors that just didn't seem to treat me like a patient, so I switched doctors, and with my present doctors, I've learned to get copies of test results. I'm learning to push for answers.
 
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RedBear2005 responded:
Although the question can be a rather subtle one, I would have to say "no, not quite" in response, Nanny. There is still a considerable degree of medical uncertainty with regard to exactly what (multiple) factors can cause calcium deposits, and whether they may have some function in response TO "lesions" as well as their occurrence in association with the formation of lesions.

Brain lesions (literally "scars") can occur for a variety of reasons that have nothing to do with calcium deposits as such. Likewise, calcium deposits and lesions are not the only structures that can appear in MRI imagery as "white spots". Notably, plaques associated with MS are sometimes so described.

Thus - as far as I can determine when I read medical literature as a technically trained layman - the three terms you have used can be considered broad "categories" that have some degree of partial overlap. No two of these words are exact equivalents. You'll have to read deeper to assess what the radiologist actually meant or was referring to in the MRI reports, if you are to understand the resulting diagnoses.

Sorry I can't offer you better clarification, Nanny - but I wouldn't be doing you any favors by trying to make this question look simple. It's not.

Regards and best
 
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StOrM1207 responded:
I am glad i came across this web page......

I have a family member that went into the hospital because she has been having headaches and vision loss. She has had quite a few tests done now because they suspected that she has calcium on the brain. She was also told that they have never seen a case this bad other than some woman in India. I do not know anything about she and neither does she. they will not let her leave the hospital cause the calcium is pushing against her optical nerve and they don't want her to loss her vision and they want to watch her ( in my opinion they just want to use her as a guinea pig)

redbear2005 - do you know how you would treat calcium deposits on the brain? the

we are unsure on the procedures that might come next and how to treat this. How would i find out how may people are diagnosed with calcium on the brain? cause the doctor made it seem like this is the second case of this she has ever seen.

please help Taralee
 
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RedBear2005 responded:
Hon, I hate it when I have the bearer of really bad news, and PARTICULARLY since I am not a licensed doctor. However, this outcome could well prove to be the case with respect to your mother.

The only types of treatment that I've seen discussed so far for calcium deposits, have involved neurosurgery to remove the deposits from areas where they have compressed or caused trauma to the surface of the brain. If your Mom's MRI imagery reveals multiple deposits spread across many areas of the brain, and/or spread downward and inward into the major "valley" between the principle lobes of the brain, then neurosurgery might not be a reasonable option for her (only a doctor familiar with her case can really tell you for sure).

When you say that a deposit is pushing against her optical nerve, I can already tell you from long years spent in this medical literature, that the odds against conventional surgery helping her are pretty steep. Simply getting IN that deep will cause damage to intervening structures and produce a very high risk of stroke or convulsions while she is on the operating table and thereafter.

If i don't follow up by mid-week with further links on treatment options, please ping me by email at lawhern@hotmail.com.

Go in Peace and Power.

One footnote for Caprice or other moderators of the forum, please: I would appreciate seeing a separate posting concerning site policy for cases where medical literature indicates few real solutions for a problem voiced by people who visit here and need help. I do not wish to appear to be an agent of "doom and gloom" - and at the same time, there is an ethical issue embedded in not making people aware that they face very trying circumstances or a decided lack of alternatives. Clearly, folks like Storm should be talking about many of the details of a posting like this one, with the involved medical care specialists. But Storm and others COME here very often because the results of such discussions have not been satisfactory. So what do we do in a situation like this?

I would also encourage input by anyone else with experience or additional knowledge to offer Storm or with a comment on the issues suggested above.

regards to all, Red
 
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Lifes responded:
Red,

As you know, I'm not WebMD Staff either, nor a Doc. But, in my work, I always found that patients want honesty. It need not be delivered with a sledge hammer, but gently and with compassion, which I think you and I try to do in our responses. I think people come here looking for "JUST TELL ME" answers; they want the facts, with little sugar coating, and backed up with lots of proven information. They want what their docs have not given, or when docs don't have time to give it-- straight information.

I believe answers from peers, here or on other sites, must include such honesty. We can say "I'm not a doc... I'm not able to diagnose....and NO one but God can say for sure.." but still give the best information we know or can find. If the information includes "there might be a poor outcome" (uh, doctor's double-speak for "the person could die") then I think patients and their families would rather know what they face than be stuck in the dark with no idea what is going on. Here, we can give others better ideas about what to ask a doc or surgeon. We can help patients push their doctors to stop, to answer questions, to be more honest -- if the patients choose to make their docs answer tough questions.

I just finished the book The Last Lecture by Carnegie Mellon Professor Randy Pausch with Jeffrey Zaslow. (I HIGHLY recommend this book! What a gem.) Randy is dying of pancreatic cancer. He talks in the book about docs telling patients that they have about six months of quality health.... uh.... they dress up the truth as though no one will notice the elephant in the room. For every person there comes a time when the elephant in the room is "the person is likely to die." Why can't docs SAY it?? They think if they tell a patient the truth, the pt. will give up hope, try to suicide, etc. etc. Well, if I'm going to die SOON, just tell me! At least I'll have time to put my affairs in order. I think most patients would agree. Families might be more upset about a likely death than the person who is dying. There's something strong about "you're going to die soon" that cuts through the fog that surrounds each of us in everyday life. We all think we'll live forever. We don't. It's that simple.

So, I think we need to be gently honest here. Point other members to what they can read. Many people know enough medical jargon they can figure it out anyway. Most people know that diseases of brain, heart, lungs, kidneys (to name the most important organs) can often lead to death if not corrected-- or if docs can do nothing else to fix it. We, here, cannot diagnose, but we can say "Have you asked the doc what X means; how significant is this; from everything I know / read, it doesn't look good."

Seriously, does anyone come here asking questions and expect other members to LIE to them?

Lifes
 
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RedBear2005 responded:
Life's -- I particularly value your input on this question, because it seems to me from observing your responses to posters at WebMD, that you live the values you express.

Your term "gently honest" also resonates for me. I make every effort to be and to express both qualities in my postings. As are many others who share their research knowledge or personal experience in these forums, I am intensely aware of the need (the imperative!) to be thoughtful and straight. People come here who are often in terrible pain, or whose children or spouses are in pain -- and sometimes people trying to cope with life threatening conditions. Sometimes I feel so helpless to assist that I come close to frustrated tears. For such times, I can only try to remain mindfully present, to offer whatever aids and helps I know, and to try to "be with" people who need to be heard.

Thanks for your thought, Life's. I invite others to join this dialog as well...

Regards and well wishes to all,

R.A. "Red" Lawhern, Ph.D.
 
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StOrM1207 responded:
Thanks......My MIL is still going down hill.......from the calcium deposits......I am good with straight forward replies.....no point sugar coating anything.....plus everyone dies sometime.....and i think you just have to take it as what it is. I am not sensitive at all.......Thanks for your reply and sorry it took so long for me to get back.

Whe i said she is going dow hill she is getting mirganes more often and her site is still going. I have another question. Will this kill someone or will she just lose her site and stuff......Again i need to know an aprox just so i know how i have to help out his side of the family. Others take death differently then i do .....oh well to each there own. and i think i would like to make them aware that if she is going to die that at least they are ready for it ......if you know what i mean.

Again thanks Red bear

Taralee
 
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paula94707 responded:
I too have calcium deposits on/in the brain. They are symmetrical and bilatertal. No other symptoms except slurred speech. The CAT scan, too, said the same thing. Don't know what to make of it.... going to docs now. I am female and 60.


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