Temperature’s rising – so is the risk of kidney stones

ee-greenteaWhile keeping hydrated is definitely a concern when outdoor temperatures rise, the issue is even more important for those at risk of kidney stones. If you have ever had a kidney stone or have seen someone suffer through the pain, you know it’s a situation you definitely want to avoid.

A new U.S. study points to the link between rising temperatures and the number of patients seeking treatment for this very painful condition.  Warmer weather can go hand in hand with dehydration and  promotes kidney stone formation due to a higher concentration of calcium and other minerals in the urine. Kidney stones may pass through the urinary tract on their own but sometimes surgery is needed to remove them.

Those who have experienced kidney stones often have an awareness of dietary changes they may need to implement to avoid stone formation but a simple step – keeping hydrated- can go a long way in decreasing the risk.

In the study,   researchers found a link between hot days and kidney stones in patients in several U.S. cities with varying climates. They analyzed medical records of more than 60,000 adults and children with kidney stones over a 6-year period in connection with weather data.   As average  daily temperatures climbed above 50 F (10 C), the risk of kidney stone presentation increased in almost all the cities.

The delay between high daily temperatures and kidney stone presentation was very short, peaking within three days of exposure to hot days. The likelihood of seeking medical help then occurred within the next 20 days.

It’s interesting to note that the incidence of kidney stones has climbed dramatically over the past 25 years. There has been a change,  especially in children. While the causes for increased incidence has not been fully explained, there are a few factors that seem pretty clear.

For one, high sodium intakes can cause calcium loss in the urine- a factor that’s linked to kidney stone formation.  Another consideration is the rising rates of hypertension, again something adolescents are now more commonly developing. People with high blood pressure are up to three times more likely to develop kidney stones.

Whatever the causes of kidney stones, keeping hydrated can lessen the risk. So raise a glass (all day long) to  make sure that you don’t become a kidney stone statistic.


Have you ever had a kidney stone? Do you take special measures to avoid a repeat? Please share in the comment section below.

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Categories: Nutrition News

Author:Rosie Schwartz

Rosie Schwartz is a Toronto-based consulting dietitian and writer.

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