Tell Me About The Causes Of Kidney Stones

What are kidney stones? Why do they develop? And what can be done about them?

In the United States alone some 300,000 people each year are hospitalised due to Kidney Stones. This most painful of conditions has been with us since the earliest of times, as evidenced by ancient Egyptian Mummies with kidney stones still lodged inside them. So, just what are kidney stones? And, how can they be effectively dealt with.

Kidney stones are made of many substances and can come in all shapes and sizes - from the size of a microscopic hair to being large enough to fill an entire kidney. They are caused by three differing chemical conditions that lead various elements in the urine to collect around a nucleus and develop into a stone. Approximately 80 % of kidney stones pass out with urine. Those that have become too large to do so, however, will cause a blockage of the urinary tract. Medical treatment will be required to preserve the health of the patient.

What causes kidney stones? The medical community have, as yet, no definitive answer. It is believed that disorders of the mineral, anatomical, functional and endocrinological systems as well as metabolic disturbances are involved. There is also evidence that the condition is an inherited one. Living conditions also play their part. Kidney Stone complaints are far more prevalent in hot and humid areas than in cooler climates. Kidney stones also seem to show up more in those with a sedentary life-style. Diet is also a contributing factor. Highly seasoned foods are likely to trigger the problem as are spicey curries. This can be seen by observing the incidence of kidney stones in Fiji. The native Fijians who eat mainly the bland native fare are practically kidney stone free. The Indian population who eat plenty of curries, however, have a high incidence of kidney stones.

Here's what you can do to lessen the risk of kidney stones affecting you:

(1) Drink plenty of water, especially in humid climates. Try for 8 glasses per day.

(2) If you live a sedentary life-style, get some regular exercise. Start with walking around the block and build from there.

(3) Cut back on your intake of dairy products such as milk and cheese. Avoid spicey foods. Limit your intake of spicey foods and curries.

Specialists have had success in kidney stone preventative therapy with oral magnesium oxide, supplemented with vitamin B6. Of course such treatments would be done in conjunction with a physician skilled in such treatment. The use of phosphates and antibiotics should also be under medical supervision.

Prior to 1980, major surgery was required to remove kidney stones. Technological developments since that time have meant that this is no longer necessary. Treatment with ultrasonic waves allows the offending stone to be crushed with only a minimal incision. Extracorporeal shock Wave Lithotripsy allows the stones to be disintegrated without any incision at all.

The advancements in medical technology have certainly made kidney stone treatment less stressful to treat. It is still, though, far better to never have the problem in the first place. And the single best thing to do to ensure this is to drink plenty of water. What could be easier?

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