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Why the summer's dangerous for your kidney

kidney-stonesHot and humid days may bring more kidney stones as higher temperatures contribute to dehydration that leads to a higher concentration of calcium in the body that promote the growth of kidney stones. In a study involving 60,000 patients in the US, researchers found that as daily temperatures rose, there was a rapid increase in the number of patients seeking treatment for kidney stones. 'The findings point to potential public health effects associated with global climate change,' said Gregory E. Tasian, a pediatric urologist and epidemiologist at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP).

It is likely that higher temperatures increase the risk of kidney stones in those people predisposed to stone formation. The delay between high daily temperatures and kidney stone presentation was short, peaking within three days of exposure to hot days, the study added. The team found that as frigid weather keeps people more in indoors, higher indoor temperatures, changes in diet and decreased physical activity may raise their risk of kidney stones. The authors note that increase in greenhouse gas emissions are projected to raise earth's average temperatures by 1 to 4.5 degrees Celsius by 2100. 'Kidney stone prevalence has already been on the rise over the last 30 years, and we can expect this trend to continue as daily temperature increase,' Tasian noted. The paper was published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.

What are the risk factors of kidney stones?

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Kidney stones occur in about 5% of the population and a person may about have about 8-10% of chances of passing a kidney stone in a lifetime.

Kidney stones are more frequent in men than women, because they have more muscle mass as compared to women. So, the daily breakdown of muscle tissues result in increased metabolic wastes and a predisposition to stone formation. Other risk factors include:

  • Family history: You are more likely to develop stones if someone in your family has had stones
  • Personal history: The risk of having a kidney stone is much higher if you have already had a stone.
  • Age: Though kidney stones can occur at any age, they are most common in adults aged 40 and above.
  • Obesity: High body mass index (BMI), large waist size and weight gain have been linked to an increased risk of kidney stones
  • Dehydration: Inadequate fluid intake will increase your risk of kidney stones. People living in hot arid regions or working in environments where they tend to sweat a lot will have a higher risk of developing stones.
  • Certain diets: Eating a diet that's high in animal protein, sodium and has low fibre content can increase your risk for kidney stones. This is especially true for a high-sodium diet. Too much sodium increases the calcium load on your kidneys, significantly increases your risk of kidney stones.

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