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Overview of Kidney Stone Risk Factors

Overview of Kidney Stone Risk Factors

Kidneys are two bean-shaped organs in the renal system that help the body get rid of the waste by passing as urine.

They help to filter blood before sending it back to the heart.

It is known that a major function of the kidneys is to remove waste products and excess fluid from the body.

These waste products and excess fluid pass through the urine.

This process is necessary to maintain a stable balance of body chemicals.

Kidneys perform the function of regulating the body's salt, potassium and acid content.

The kidneys also produce hormones that in turn affect the functioning of the other organs.

For example, a hormone produced by the kidneys stimulates red blood cell production and other hormones produced by the kidneys help regulate blood pressure and control calcium metabolism.

The kidneys are powerful organs that perform the following functions:

•    remove waste products from the body
•    remove drugs from the body
•    balance the body's fluids
•    release hormones that regulate blood pressure
•    produce an active form of vitamin D that promotes strong, healthy bones
•    control the production of red blood cells

Kidney stones are basically hard deposits made of minerals and salts that get formed inside the kidneys.

Kidney stones have many causes and can affect any part of your urinary tract, from your kidneys to the bladder.

Generally, the stones form when the urine becomes concentrated, allowing minerals to crystallize and stick together and hence develops into kidney stones.

When kidney stones get released through the body biological processes, it could be quite painful.

However, it should be noted that when the kidney stones are timely detected then they cause no permanent damage to the body.

It rather depends on the kind of kidney stone problem situation that one is facing.

If it is caught in the early stages then it can be treated by normal medication and other non-surgeries’ methods.

But on the other hand, if the problem of the kidney stone arises then medical procedures would have to be undertaken to take in consideration of the person’s body capability as well as his demand.

Kidney stones often have no definite or single cause, although several factors may increase your risk.

After all, they form when the urine contains crystal-forming substances exceeding its limit such as calcium, oxalate and uric acid than the fluid in the urine is supposed to contain.

At the same time, the urine may lack substances that prevent crystals from sticking together, creating an ideal environment for kidney stones to form.

One has to be careful of what kind of diet, lifestyle and habits they are adopting as a combination of all these factors affect the urinary system and hence alter the functioning of the biological processes of the body causing discomfort to a person.

There are certain factors that will increase the risk of developing kidney stones which one would have to keep in mind if he or she wants to stay clear of the kidney stone

  • Family or personal history - A person is at a higher risk of having kidney stones when in one’s family, there has been a medical history of other family members having kidney stones. Similarly, on a personal level, if one has had one or more kidney stones, he or she is also at risk of having more kidney stones.
  • Not drinking enough water - This is a bad habit not only for kidney stones but also in general. Our bodies naturally create waste chemicals as byproducts of biological processes such as digestion, breathing and other metabolic processes. The kidneys collect that waste, mixes it with water and thus, in the end, the waste gets flushed out as urine. The less one drinks water, the longer those chemicals stay.
    When they concentrate, they form tiny solids in the kidney, often made of a calcium compound or uric acid giving way to kidney formation.
  • Consuming the wrong diet -  Eating food that is rich in protein, sodium (salt) and sugar may increase the risk of some types of kidney stones.
    This especially stands true for high sodium intake where too much of salt increases the amount of calcium in the kidneys and significantly increases the risk of kidney stones.
  • Being highly overweight or obese - Unmanageable body weight and size may result in increased urinary excretion of calcium, oxalate, and uric acid, thereby increasing the chances of having calcium-containing kidney stones. The stone risk incidence increases with increasing Body Mass Index. 
  • After-effects of digestive diseases and surgeries - Surgeries such as Gastric bypass surgery and diseases like inflammatory bowel disease or chronic diarrhoea can cause problems in the digestive process that affect the absorption of calcium and water, increasing the chances of having stone-forming substances in your urine.
  • Other medical problems - Diseases and conditions that may increase the risk of kidney stones consist of renal tubular acidosis, cystinuria, hyperparathyroidism.
  • Urinary tract infections: People who suffer from chronic urinary tract infections are likely to suffer from larger stones in the kidneys.

Hence, it is important to get a timely health checkup as it gives clarity on the overall health issue including the status of kidney health. One should be careful of what and how a person is leading a life.

One should lead a lifestyle and consume a diet that is balanced and not live in extreme or do anything in excess.

By RG Hospitals

Read more about Kidney Stone Treatment & Procedure

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