We may think of summer as the time of year to enjoy beach days and bbq cookouts, but it’s also the season for kidney stones. The link between the two relates to heat and dehydration.
A kidney stone is a solid object made up of hard deposits of minerals and salts. Many times the substances crystallize when urine in the kidney or bladder becomes concentrated. men have a higher lifetime risk of producing them than women. While we are more likely to get them as we age, 20-40 year olds are the prime producers of summer stones.
As for the ‘why’- it’s fairly simple. People tend to spend more time outdoors during the summer months when it’s warm. Sweating and exerting more, and not drinking enough water or liquids. Without the proper amount of fluid, the urine may become concentrated, encouraging the formation of kidney stones.
The best prevention is to take a few precautions to discourage the formation of kidney stones.
- Drink plenty of water. When you’re outdoors carry a water bottle and keep it filled. If you feel extremely thirsty it means you’re already dehydrated. avoid that by sipping throughout the day.
- Reduce your salt intake. Your body pulls water from your cells to stabilize excess sodium which makes you more dehydrated. and a high sodium diet increases the amount of calcium in your urine.
- Eat more fruits and veggies. Especially ones with high water concentrations. like watermelon and citrus. along with vegetables including broccoli, lettuce and tomatoes.
- Keep a good weight. Studies show obesity increases the risk of kidney stones. Being overweight impacts the acid level in urine.
Some people never know they have a kidney stone. they only become problematic if they move through the urinary tract or become lodged.
Passing or treating kidney stones can be extremely painful. Small ones may be flushed through the system naturally, others may require a medical intervention such as lithotripsy, or ultrasound, to break them into smaller pieces. severe cases or those involving large stones sometimes require surgery.
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