Kidney stones are collections of hard substances often made up of salts and minerals, mainly calcium or uric acid that form inside the kidneys, and in some instances can travel through the urinary tract. They can be as painful as that explanation sounds and they are something that affects 1 out of every 10 Americans nowadays. Kidney stones are formed when a large quantity of a certain mineral you have in your body accumulates in the urine. The situation becomes a problem when lack of hydration causes the urine to be more concentrated, and hence the mineral buildup to reach levels that promote crystallization and the formation of stones or crystals. While smaller kidney stones may go unnoticed, this is a condition that should not go unchecked, since larger stones will be almost impossible for the body to pass and must be broken down in order to make it through the urethra and eventually leave the bladder.
There are no definite conclusions as to what causes kidney stones, however, today in Joe Cosgrove’s Blog we want to talk about some of the factors that may increase your risk of suffering from this condition and you can take some simple steps to ensure that if you develop kidney stones, you are able to prevent them from happening again.
Don’t ignore the signs and symptoms.
Kidney stones present themselves with symptoms that may be the consequence of unrelated conditions. This doesn’t mean that just because you present one of the signs, then automatically you should worry about kidney stones, but you do need to pay attention when more than two symptoms are present because that may be an indicator that there is something wrong with your renal function. Pay attention to things like: Pain in the back, belly or side; discomfort during urination or an urgent need to go, as well as abnormally colored urine; nausea; vomiting; fever and chills.
Do drink plenty of water.
As we mentioned earlier, dehydration is a fact that greatly enhances the probabilities of developing kidney stones. Drinking plenty of water ensures your organism is able to dilute the substances that build up in your kidneys and help you secrete them easily. The rule of thumb says that you should drink at least 8 ounces of water every hour, but that changes depending on your metabolism, the amount of physical activity you do during the day and the weather. There are many factors that can dictate where you need more or less water, but watching the frequency in which you urinate and the color of your urine are good ways of deciding if you need more or less water.
Don’t avoid protein.
People often say that you should cut your protein intake in order to avoid kidney stones. The truth is that researchers haven’t found any evidence that directly links protein intake and the propensity to develop kidney stones. A low protein diet is often recommended in cases of kidney failure or different kidney diseases, but there is no clear link between eating protein and forming kidney stones.
Don’t blame calcium.
Eating calcium is another myth when it comes to kidney stones. Calcium supplements are not really recommended because they may cause damage to your heart, but natural foods that are rich in calcium have proven to actually reduce the chance of developing kidney stones and even helping the body retain more water to keep you hydrated.
Do stay away from sodas.
It has been proving by multiple studies that drinking sugary sodas and carbonated drinks actually promote the conditions that are optimal for kidney stones to form. Staying away from sodas is a great idea to stay healthy and prevent kidney stones.
Don’t over do it with alcohol, coffee, and tea.
Caffeine intake has been directly associated with an increase of calcium secretion and therefore, it can be a factor that promotes the formation of kidney stones. Just make sure that if this is something that may affect you, you check your intake and reduce in order to avoid worsening your condition.
Don’t forget about exercise.
Strength training is a great way for you to help your body avoid kidney stones. Increased bone and muscle strength help draw calcium out of your blood and thus reducing the amount present in your kidneys and avoid the possible formation of kidney stones. People who do not exercise and have a sedentary lifestyle have a higher propensity to develop kidney stones.
Do welcome more vegetables and fruits into your diet.
Fruits and vegetables boost your potassium and magnesium levels and both of those substances help your body get rid of excess calcium. If calcium is being extracted from your blood, then it will not be present in excessive amounts in your kidneys and then kidney stones will not form so easily. These types of foods are great for your overall health and can make a big difference in your wellbeing.
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