Kidney stones are a serious issue. Those who have had them describe this tiny rocks as painful and difficult to get rid of. The truth is that many people even assure that pain caused by kidney stones is even worse than the one women feel during childbirth.
Pain is not the only serious thing about developing kidney stones. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (United States), the most important thing that people need to know is that 10% of the world’s population will develop kidney stones at some point in their lives. Also, those who once had the stones, have an 80% chance of developing them again during their lifetime.
Another thing that is important to consider is that the most common type of kidney stones patients usually develop are calcium oxalate ones (at least 80% of kidney stones are calcium oxalate ones). These stones can be as small as a grain of salt, or as big as a golf ball. Also, when patients develop this rocks chronically, they will be more likely to lose one of their kidneys, need a kidney transplant or go on dialysis.
Luckily, for most people and patients who have already developed kidney stones, there are ways for them to prevent the further formation of this annoying and painful rocks. In this article, Joe Cosgrove will share some tips that may be useful for patients to remain free of calcium oxalate kidney stones.
Genes and environment
There are some factors that can place individuals at risk of developing calcium oxalate stones. Some of these factors are related to the genetic information contained in their bodies. Other factors are linked to the environment in which we live and the type of foods we consume.
Genetics are determinant to the way our kidneys work. If your parents had kidney stones, it is very likely for you to develop them as well. This condition is hereditary but the genes that pass this condition from one person to the other haven’t been properly detected.
This is why, most people can only have control over the factors related to the environment in which patients live, the type of diet they have and a number of fluids they consume.
Diet and fluid intake
As it has been said before in this blog, the best way to prevent the formation of calcium oxalate stones is to increase the intake of fluids. This will increase the urine volume immediately and will prevent the joining of waste calcium particles inside the kidneys.
The ideal amount of urine that a person should daily produce is 2,5 liters. In order for a person to be able to produce this much urine, it will need to consume 3 liters of liquids every day. Plus, the type of consumed fluids also matters.
Drinking beer or coffee usually help patients decrease their chances of developing kidney stones. On the other hand, consuming some juices, such as grapefruit juice regularly increases the chances of patients developing kidney stones. The reasons why this happen are not clear yet, however, the opposite effect can be appreciated when it comes to consuming lemon juice.
Some studies show that if a person consumes a higher concentration of citrate content, the chances of it developing kidney stones decrease. This happens because citrate changes the urine’s chemistry, preventing the formation of stones.
Many people believe that they should avoid consuming calcium in order to remain free of calcium oxalate stones. This is a myth and people should keep consuming calcium on regular basis. What they should control is the intake of oxalate.
This matter is simple to explain: calcium helps with the absorption of oxalate salts. When people stop consuming calcium, oxalate salts become harder to absorb by the body and stay inside the kidneys in the shape of waste. Oxalate particles present inside the kidneys starts to bond until it creates kidney stones.
Calcium needs to be part of your diet in order to prevent the formation of kidney stones. What you need to avoid is the high consumption of oxalate salts, present in animal protein and salt. It is also recommended to patients to avoid the consumption of vitamin C supplements since they can increase the amount of oxaluria associated to the formation of calcium oxalate kidney stones.
Another reason why the intake of calcium is important is that it helps to keep bone density and health stable. Regarding this matter, most doctors recommend patients to increase their intake of calcium by consuming mineral supplements. A good supplement that patients can take is calcium citrate.
As it was said before, consuming high concentrations of citrate prevents the formation of calcium stones since it changes the chemistry of urine. When citrate is combined with calcium, the kidneys are protected in two ways: through the changes in the composition of urine and by helping the system absorbing oxalate salts.