247Wallst.com 247Ws 922109 Imageforentry8 Wcl



Warm weather brings days at the beach, sunscreen and … kidney stones?

Researchers say that as temperatures and humidity rise during the summer, people who don’t stay properly hydrated are more likely to develop these painful mineral deposits. What’s more, he noted, people whose diets are generally high in sodium, fat, and sugar are more likely to find themselves with: 1 in 10 Americans who develop kidney stones in their lifetime.

Kidney stones are formed when minerals from the urine settle into small stone or pebble-like aggregates. These stones can be deposited in the ureter, the tube that connects the kidney to the bladder. The stones sometimes create obstructions that make it difficult to urinate and cause severe pain in the side or lower back. Some stones pass on their own and cause little or no discomfort.

According to Dr. Evan E. Porter, M.D., a nephrologist at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida, summer is the time to pay attention to these deposits because kidney stones are more likely to develop when temperatures rise. When it’s hot and people sweat more but don’t drink enough water or other fluids, those conditions “can absolutely be associated with both stone occurrence and risk of stone formation,” Porter said.

A 2023 study published in the American Journal of Kidney Diseases reported Emergency room visits Admissions to New York State hospitals for kidney stones, urinary tract infections and other kidney injuries increase during the warmer months, especially during the “transitional” months of May when the weather warms up and summer passes by in September.

The study suggests that people may not be ready when temperatures rise, said Dr. Shao Lin, a professor of environmental health at the State University of New York at Albany and co-author. The problem, she said: People spend too much time in the sun, don’t drink enough water or turn on the air conditioner when the temperature rises.

“The human body has not yet adapted to the hot weather in May,” Lin said. “People are not ready for that.”

In addition to the increased risk caused by heat and lack of moisture, other factors accelerate the increase in the number of kidney stones. The rate of kidney stones in the United States has increased from 3.8 percent to about 10 percent in the late 1970s, according to the National Kidney Foundation.

Dr. Timothy Averch, MD, a urologist in Columbia, South Carolina, said: “Over the past two decades, we’ve seen some other diseases drop or decrease, but kidney stones haven’t. It is increasing,” he said.

Averch said warmer temperatures may contribute to increased kidney stone rates, but diet may also be a major explanation.

“When it comes to kidney stones, what we eat is extremely unhealthy, and even some of the things we think are healthy can have a negative effect on kidney stone formation,” Averch said.

What can I do to reduce my risk of kidney stones?

The most important thing is to drink plenty of water or other fluids with citrate, such as lemon juice or lime juice, to stay hydrated, Averch said. It is also important to avoid or reduce drinks that can dehydrate you, such as coffee and alcohol.

Doctors also recommend avoiding foods with a lot of sodium. Processed foods are often packed with sodium and should be avoided, Porter said.

“Most of the salt we find in typical American food doesn’t come from a salt shaker,” Porter said. “It comes from prepared foods. So it’s something out of a can or bag.”

People should avoid consuming too much animal proteins and fats. Averch cited a study from Italian researchers that found that diets high in animal protein lead to hypercalcemia, or too much calcium in the blood.

Researchers also debunk diet myths. A few decades ago, it was reported that if people drank a lot of milk or ate a lot of dairy products like cheese or yogurt, they could be at risk of kidney stones. But nutritional studies have shown that such calcium-rich foods have the opposite effect – they reduce the risk of kidney stones, called calcium oxalate stones.

“Those patients who increased their dairy intake with cheese, milk, yogurt, had a lower risk of developing stones,” Porter said.

However, people who take high-dose calcium supplements may be at greater risk, he said.

“So a calcium-rich diet is good. Calcium supplements, not so good,” Porter said.

What to do if symptoms of kidney stones appear

People with kidney stones may first notice a sharp pain in the lower back or side that radiates up to the groin. Others describe it as a general ache or stomach ache that won’t go away.

Other symptoms may include blood in the urine or a burning sensation when you urinate, as well as nausea, vomiting, fever, and chills.

Doctors can confirm whether you have a stone or order imaging tests to determine the size of the stone. They may also order blood tests to check for calcium, phosphorus, and uric acid levels. Many patients can pass stones on their own, but some need to be removed. According to the National Kidney Foundation, if you have a stone, you have a 50% chance of developing another stone within five to seven years.

If you suspect you may have one, it’s always best to get tested, doctors say.

“If you’re not sure what it is and you haven’t had kidney stones before, you should probably get medical attention,” Averch said.