What Do Kidney Stones Have To Do With Global Warming?

If you’ve ever had painful kidney stones you would probably do just about anything to prevent having another one. Next to natural childbirth, passing a kidney stone just might be the most excruciating pain there is—sans the bouncing bundle of joy. Plenty of us will experience it firsthand, along with the unpleasant symptoms of kidney stones—pain in the groin or side, blood in the urine, vomiting and nausea, a burning sensation during urination, and fever and chills.

Fortunately, there is a simple and inexpensive way you can help prevent kidney stones from forming in the first place. Drink plenty of fluids every day—especially water. It makes sense considering water makes up about 60 percent of the body’s weight. Water flushes out toxins and carries vital nutrients to cells. When the body’s H2O levels get out of whack, pH levels in the kidneys becomes too acidic, uric acid becomes too concentrated and the conditions are right for the formation of kidney stones.

How much H20 is enough to keep the jagged crystalline stones away? The amount depends on several factors—your size, the amount of physical activity you get each day, the weather and how much time you spend outdoors—but at least eight to 10 eight-ounce glasses a day is a very basic rule of thumb that is a good starting point. However, Mitch Abrahams, M.D., a urologist with USMD Hospital in Arlington says there is another important target to keep in mind.

“In general, patients who make kidney stones should make about 83 ounces (2.5 liters) of urine every 24 hours. For someone who spends time indoors, 95 to 100 ounces may be all they need to drink to produce that volume of urine. But if you spend a lot of time outdoors during the hot Texas summer, you’ll need to consume considerably more to make up for the fluids lost during perspiration,” Dr. Abrahams says.

Dehydration, the number one cause of kidney stones, is a growing health risk for men, women and even children. In addition to climate change and draught, U.S. scientists predict global warming will be responsible for a noticeable uptick in the number of people who suffer from kidney stones. Men, especially, need to pay attention to the volume of their fluid intake and urine output since they are more prone to develop kidney stones than women.

Drink enough fluids to keep your urine clear in color. If you notice your urine is a dark yellow, drink more. But keep in mind that some fluids—grapefruit juice, dark colas and caffeinated drinks—can contribute to the formation of kidney stones in some people. If you have a history of kidney stones or are experiencing any of the symptoms of kidney stones, don’t try to tough it out alone. The urologists and kidney specialists at USMD Hospital are experts in the latest medications and treatments that can help you feel better fast. Call (888)444-USMD for a free physician referral.     


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