Research suggests that kidney stone rates are rising throughout America. In fact, one in ten people will develop a kidney stone at some point in their lives. Many experts believe increasing rates are due to common misconceptions related both directly and indirectly to the condition. To reduce your risk, review the following tips on avoiding kidney stones.
What Are They?
Kidney stones usually occur when urine contains more calcium, oxalate, uric acid and other crystal-forming substances than the urine can effectively dilute. Some people also develop stones, because their urine lacks substances that prevent crystals from bonding. Whatever the case, once the crystals start sticking together, they form a mass that results in a number of unpleasant symptoms, including pain, discolored urine, nausea, vomiting and potential infections.
Reducing Your Risk
There are a number of ways you can diminish your risk of developing kidney stones. These include:
- Drink plenty of water to help dilute your urine.
- Avoid overexposure to saunas, hot tubs and activities that promote excessive sweating.
- Instead of eating oxalate rich foods by themselves, mix them with calcium rich foods to increase the chances of bonding in the stomach instead of the kidneys.
- Don’t cut back on calcium, since this can actually increase your risk of developing kidney stones.
Making Dietary Changes
If you’ve had a stone in the past, you are at a much greater risk of developing a second one. To reduce your risk, make the following dietary changes, based on the type of stone you initially passed:
- Calcium Oxalate Stones
- Reduce sodium intake
- Reduce animal protein, such as fish, eggs, pork and beef
- Limit foods high in oxalate, such as wheat bran, rhubarb, spinach, nuts
- Calcium Phosphate Stones
- Reduce sodium intake
- Reduce animal protein,
- Uric Acid Stones
- Limit animal protein
While usually not dangerous, kidney stones can be extremely painful. Fortunately, a healthcare provider can offer medications that can significantly reduce pain associated with passing your stone. That said, in some cases, surgery becomes necessary. If you suspect you are suffering from a kidney stone, visit your physician or an urgent care facility.