Summertime, and Risk Grows for Kidney Stones


X-rays are commonly used to diagnose kidney stones, which can cause severe pain. PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES

Who knew the summertime is a big season for kidney stones? 

Doctors say more people suffer from the condition when the weather is hot and dry and people become dehydrated. That can encourage minerals in the body to crystallize in the kidneys. When the so-called stones move to other parts of the urinary tract they can cause severe pain depending on their size.

About 9% of U.S. adults will develop kidney stones, a rate that has nearly doubled over the past 15 years, according to a 2012 study in the journal European Urology. The reason for the increase isn’t entirely clear, but it is believed to be connected to rising obesity rates. Men are more likely than women to get kidney stones, though a recent study found the gap has been narrowing.

 

Kidney stones are made of crystallized minerals and salts. PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES

 
For people who have suffered a kidney stone, the chance of having another is high. Doctors say there are steps to help prevent a recurrence, mainly through changes in diet, such as drinking lots of water and avoiding sugary sodas. Other prevention tips may depend on what type of kidney stone you had. For a common type of stone, doctors might recommend avoiding spinach and consuming moderate levels of dietary calcium, for example.

KIDNEY STONE FACTS

  • About 9% of U.S. adults will develop kidney stones, a rate that has nearly doubled over the past 15 years. In men, the rate is 11% and in women it is 7%. But the gap between the genders is narrowing.
  • Calcium oxalate stones make up the majority of cases. Other types of kidney stones include calcium phosphate, uric acid and struvite.
  • A family history of kidney stones increases your risk. One in four people with a stone reports having a relative with them.

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Source: By SUMATHI REDDY (WSJ)

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