Increase intake of fluids to avoid kidney stones

New Delhi, 22 August 2017: Statistics reveal that the lifetime prevalence of kidney stones is approximately 13% in men and 7% in women. Without treatment, approximately 35% to 50% of those with kidney stones will experience recurrence within 5 years from the first stone. As per the IMA, increased fluid intake spread throughout the day can decrease stone recurrence by at least half with virtually no side effects.

Kidney stones are formed due to the accumulation of dissolved minerals on the inner lining of the kidneys. There are several types of kidney stones: calcium stones, uric acid stones, struvite stones and cysteine stones. Calcium oxalate stones are the most common. People with kidney stones are at a significantly higher risk of developing chronic kidney disease.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee Dr K K Aggarwal, National President Indian Medical Association (IMA) and President Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI) and Dr RN Tandon – Honorary Secretary General IMA in a joint statement, said, “Lack of water in the body is the primary cause of kidney stones. In the absence of enough water to dilute uric acid (a component of urine), the urine becomes more acidic. This acidic environment is conducive for the formation of kidney stones. Kidney stones can grow as large as a golf ball and have a sharp, crystalline structure. Small stones can pass without pain. Larger stones, on the other hand, can obstruct urine flow. This can be very painful.”

Some of the common symptoms of kidney stones include severe pain in the groin and/or side and back below the ribs, colicky pain, blood in urine, nausea and vomiting, pain on urination,  burning sensation during urination, constant urge to urinate and fever and chills (in case of an infection).

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, said, “Certain medications can increase the risk of developing kidney stones. Long-term use of vitamin D and calcium supplements cause high calcium levels. Family history, dehydration, high protein, sugar, sodium diet, obesity and some disease conditions such as hyperparathyroidism are also risk factors. A previous history of kidney stone increases the risk of developing subsequent stones.”

The following tips can help prevent kidney stones.

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Stay hydrated: This is the best way to avoid kidney stones. When one consumes less water, their urine output decreases making it more concentrated and less likely to dissolve urine salts that cause stones.

Consume calcium in right amounts: Eat a moderate amount of foods with calcium, such as milk, cheese and other dairy food. Calcium oxalate stones are the most common type of kidney stone, hence, people believe that they should avoid eating calcium.

Reduce dietary sodium: Increased salt in urine prevents calcium from being reabsorbed from the urine to the blood. This causes high urine calcium, leading to kidney stones.

Limit foods rich in oxalate: Dietary oxalate is typically found in spinach, chocolate, beets, nuts, rhubarb, strawberries, tea and wheat bran.

Eat less animal protein: Foods high in animal protein are acidic and increase uric acid. High uric acid levels may cause both uric acid and calcium oxalate kidney stones.

Maintain a healthy body weight through diet and exercise.

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