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Surge In Kidney Stone Cases Linked To Poor Diet And Lack Of Exercise

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Experts at Southampton General Hospital in the United Kingdom linked the current rise in documented kidney stone cases to lack of exercise, obesity and high blood pressure. The past seven years have seen a 20 percent increase, leading to about 90,000 patients being admitted for the treatment of renal stones every year.

According to Dr. Bhaskar Somani, a urological surgeon from the Southampton General Hospital, inactive lifestyles and poor diets are contributing to the sudden rise of documented cases. People are also eating too much sugar, salt and animal protein which then creates the "perfect environment" for stones to develop.

Somani stressed that the figures can even go higher with the rising demographic of obese or overweight adults, coupled with yearly increase in hospital admissions for patients with renal stones. In the past three years, the number of kidney stone patients in Southampton General Hospital increased by 40 percent.

Around three to five percent of females and 10 to 20 percent of males between 20 to 60 years old are affected by this kidney condition where salt crystals amass and turn into lumps. Normally, the stone-like limps can be expelled through the urine, however, in some cases, the stones can get stuck in the kidney tube.

Typically, this severe condition can only be mended by surgery. Somani's team published a 219,255-patient study in the Journal of Endourology about metabolic syndrome (MetS), a medical condition initiated by the combination of high blood pressure, kidney stones, high cholesterol, diabetes and obesity.

"MetS is closely linked with obesity and being overweight, which is why sufferers will go on to develop other related problems such as high cholesterol, diabetes and high blood pressure," said Somani who stressed that people forget that weight gain and kidney stones are often related. He hoped that increased awareness of the relationship will result in the decrease of kidney stone admissions.

Somani suggested that adults should take small steps towards the prevention of kidney stone development, starting with drinking up to three liters of water daily. Patients who suffered from kidney stones before should maintain a three-liter-daily water intake to prevent a relapse. 

Photo: Rex Roof | Flickr

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