Who is Likely to Get Kidney Stones?

Kidney stones

The kidneys are a pair of organs located in the back of the abdomen. These small, fist-sized organs’ primary function is to filter waste from the blood, which is then passed out of the body as urine. In some instances, a patient’s urine becomes concentrated, allowing for small particles to become stuck together and crystallize, forming small stones in the kidney. Such stones may be extremely painful.

Kidney stones may affect patients of any age, race, or gender, but there are factors that place certain patients at an increased risk. Some common risk factors of developing kidney stones include:

  • Family History – If a family member has had kidney stones, you may be at an increased risk of developing stones of your own. If you have personally had kidney stones in the past you are at risk of developing more in the future.

  • Dehydration – Drinking plenty of water helps flush waste through the kidneys more efficiently. Therefore, dehydration places extra strain on the kidneys and increases the risk of deposits being left behind. People who live in warm climates or are prone to sweating more than average are at increased risk of becoming dehydrated, and therefore of developing kidney stones.

  • Dietary Choices – There are multiple types of kidney stones, so a lot of dietary choices may contribute to kidney stones. Diets high in sodium, sugar, and protein are some of the most common dietary risk factors.

  • Obesity – Patients with a high BMI (body mass index) are at an increased risk of developing kidney stones.

  • Digestive diseases or surgeries – Many diseases of the digestive system or digestive surgeries alter the digestive process, which may affect the way your body absorbs water and calcium, two elements that need to strike a balance in the blood. Chronic diarrhea, inflammatory bowel diseases, and gastric bypass surgeries are all capable of disrupting this balance, leading to an increased likelihood of developing kidney stones.

  • Presence of other medical conditions – Other medical conditions and certain medications may contribute to the risk of developing kidney stones.

If you experience severe pain in your back or side just under your ribs or notice abnormalities in urination, schedule an appointment with your doctor. If you notice blood in your urine or experience pain so severe that you are unable to sit or find a comfortable position, seek emergency medical attention.

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