Stay Hydrated, My Friends
It's likely you know somebody who's had a kidney stone. After all, one in 10 people will form a kidney stone at some point in their life, and if you know anything about kidney stones you know that they can be incredibly painful. Some even go so far as to say it's the closest a man can get to feeling what childbirth is like. (Any women out there who've experienced both want to weigh in on that claim?)
So that leaves the question: where do they come from and how can they be prevented? Well, like many health conditions they're directly related to diet, lifestyle, and genetics. On any given day, your kidneys filter about 200 liters of blood, help produce new red blood cells, and regulate blood pressure. As that happens, calcified deposits form inside the kidneys and crystalize with urine. Stones then have to pass through the bladder and ureter causing severe pain. On some occasions, stones may need to be surgically removed.
To lower your chances of having kidney stones, eat a diet consisting of fruits, vegetables, and lots of water -- at least three liters per day -- and avoid extreme heat. Dehydration has been known to increase the chance of kidney stones. Also, lower your intake of salty, fatty, fried, and protein-rich foods, and get some exercise.
Obesity, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and the medications used to manage these diseases also play a factor in kidney stone prevalence.
"It’s important that people realize these modifications don’t just help prevent stones – they help decrease your chances of other diseases and can help boost your health if you have another comorbidity," says Kyle Wood M.D., an assistant professor of the University of Alabama's Department of Urology. "A lot of changes like drinking water instead of soda seem so simple; but they really do pose long-term benefits, specifically to the health of one’s kidneys."
What are your thoughts? Have you ever had a kidney stone? If so, what was it like? Let us know in the comments below!