Are you at risk of kidney stones?

Are you at risk of kidney stones?

New research this week indicated that drinking a can of fizzy drink each day can increase your risk of kidney stones by a quarter.

In light of this research we decided to take a look at them, and find out exactly what they are and if there is anything you can do to prevent them.

Kidney stones can affect anyone, but adults aged 30-60 years and more men than women are usually affected.

Worldwide, rates of kidney stones seem to be rising, and it is thought that lifestyle factors such as rising obesity rates and poor hydration habits may be contributing to this

Professor Tom Sanders, independent  consultant to the Natural Hydration Council, gives the lowdown on an issue which is becoming increasingly common.

  1. Kidney stones (also known as nephrolithiasis) are formed when waste products from blood, which are filtered out by the kidneys, form crystals because their concentration in water is too low and the buildup of these crystals in the kidneys
  2. There is some evidence to indicate that more people are being treated for kidney stones in the UK over the past ten years
  3. One Chinese study making lifestyle comparisons between 1,019 patients with kidney stones and healthy controls found that ‘fluid drinking’ had a protective effect against the development of kidney stones in men Although drinking more fluids can help to protect against urinary problems, many people are reluctant to change their drinking habits.  A study carried out on patients with kidney stones found that not being aware of the health benefits of fluid, not remembering to drink, a dislike for taste of water, lack of thirst or lack of availability of fluids and being put off by the need to go to the toilet (which could lead work disruptions) were all barriers to drinking enough fluids
  4. Drinking fluids in line with European guidelines could also help to reduce healthcare expenses.  A cost-benefit analysis model applied to the French Health Care System found that compliance with drinking guidelines; 2 litres or more of fluid daily (versus intakes less than this) could help to prevent as many as 11,572 cases of kidney stones, leading to savings of around 49 million euros

Professor Tom Sanders’ top tips for a healthy urinary system

  1. Men, in particular should aim to drink recommended fluid guidelines (2.5 litres per day via food and drink consumption as recommended by EFSA), to help prevent kidney stones, in particular
  2. Body weight may also affect toilet habits, due to the physical pressure on the bladder.  Keeping body weight within healthy ranges may help to make toilet habits more comfortable
  1. Water-containing foods can also contribute to daily fluid intakes, for example yoghurt, soups, stews, fruit and vegetables. Aim to choose soups with a low salt content because those high in salt will exacerbate dehydration.


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