Are you at risk of kidney stones?
Studies by experts show that approximately 8 in 1,000 people now experience a kidney stone annually and this is a 50% increase in the cases since 2010. This might seem like a small risk, but kidney stones are on the rise among men ages 40 to 60 and even kids. For women, the rise is more prevalent than in men, especially in those from 18 to 39 years old and in some cases beyond.
Why are Kidney Stones on the Rise?
Today’s access to better diagnostic tools like CT scans helps us diagnose more symptomatic kidney stone cases easily unlike before.
The condition is also appearing in people with historically low risks of stone disease due to the rise in risk factors like diabetes, and obesity caused by poor diet.
What causes kidney stones and Are You at Increased Risk?
Though all racial groups are at risk of kidney stones, some studies show that white people have a higher risk for kidney stones. Check out these risk factors for stone formation:
· A diet that includes high amounts of animal protein, salt, and sugar
· Low intake of fluids and water
· Specific conditions like gout, diabetes, and obesity
· Certain medications such as calcium supplements
· Your family history and genetics
Kidney stone symptoms
There are drain-like, pebble-like and golfball-like kidney stones. The larger the stone, the more noticeable the symptoms!
Symptoms to look for
· Severe pain on both sides of your lower back
· Blood in your urine
· Foul-smelling or cloudy urine
· Vague pain or stomach ache which goes on and on
· Fever and chills
· Nausea or vomiting
It’s only when the kidney stone causes irritation or blockage that it starts to hurt increasingly into serious pain. Pain relievers may work well for small stones. The doctor will give your different treatment for others but in severe cases, surgery may be required.
5 tips to lower your risk for kidney stones
1. Stay well hydrated
If you’re not drinking adequate fluids, your kidneys will produce little but concentrated urine that can easily develop stones. Drink 8 to 12 cups of water/fluids daily. The target is to make at least more than 2 liters of urine daily.
2. Cut down on fructose
Too much fructose, for example, high fructose corn syrup found in some processed foods are contributing factors to kidney stones. So, limit fructose intake.
3. Limit sodium
Reduce your salt intake to limit the amount of calcium in your urine. Also, avoid fast and processed (canned) foods. Read the labels on the foods you buy including bread to avoid high amounts of salt which contribute to kidney stones.
4. Maintain a healthy weight
Since being overweight, obese and diabetic are risk factors for kidney stones, maintain a healthy weight.
In addition to exercise and measured food consumption, avoid high-sodium processed foods which increase calcium in the urine.
5. Eat more citrus fruits
Enrich your diet with more citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons and melons. They are potent fruits in the prevention of kidney stones according to experts.
The good news is that, no matter how developed your kidney stones may be, there is a treatment for you.