Kidney stones are uncomfortable, difficult to pass, and one of the most common kidney disorders that can occur. 1 in 10 people will develop kidney stones in their lifetime. We’ve all heard the term kidney stones, but what exactly are they?
A kidney stone is a solid collection of salts that can be found in your kidneys or urinary tract, and usually passes through the bladder on its own. The most common type of kidney stones is calcium-oxalate kidney stones, but other types include uric acid, struvite, and cystine kidney stones.
Kidney stones can cause pain and irritation during the passing process. Luckily, there are preventative strategies you can implement to reduce your risk of getting kidney stones.
Here are 8 ways to decrease your risk of getting kidney stones:
1. The more calcium, the better.
Many people think that more calcium would lead to more kidney stones because they are partly made up of calcium. However, a calcium-deficiency can cause more kidney stones because calcium binds to oxalate in your gut to prevent it from getting into your bloodstream. Foods high in calcium include dairy, oranges and lemons, kale, and sesame seeds.
2. Reduce your spinach intake.
Spinach contains oxalate, which is a major factor in the production of kidney stones. Even though spinach provides many other health benefits, try to maintain a healthy balance of dark green vegetables, such as kale and broccoli.
3. Avoid soda.
Soda contains a large amount of fructose, which stimulates the creation of oxalate and uric acid in your body. Among the countless health risks attributed to soda, an increase in the risk of kidney stones is one you can add to the list.
4. Maintain a healthy weight.
Obesity can cause extra oxalate and uric acid secretion, which leads to a higher risk of kidney stones. Diets associated with obesity tend to be high in salt and protein, which can also contribute to kidney stone production.
5. Know your family’s medical history.
Some people live with hereditary conditions that cause the liver to excrete certain amino acids that lead to kidney stones. If there’s a history of kidney stones in your family, then you’re at risk of getting them as well. Contact your urologist if you want to stay ahead of the risk.
6. Stay hydrated.
Make sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day. Dehydration can cause extra build-up in your urinary tract because there aren’t enough fluids carrying unwanted material out of your system.
7. Cut down on foods with salt.
A diet high in sodium will cause too much calcium to be released into your system. Since much of your sodium intake comes from salt, it’s best to cut down on salty foods. Try to read labels consistently because many processed foods contain sodium levels that are off the chart.
8. Be aware of certain medication risks.
Medications such as thyroid hormones, loop diuretics, AIDS medications, and some chemotherapy treatments increase the risk of producing kidney stones. Make sure you ask your doctor if you’re worried that the medications you’re taking will increase your chance for kidney stones.
Kidney stones can be a hassle for anybody, which is why it’s best to avoid kidney stones altogether. Try these tips for a healthy urologic system.
To learn more about maintaining your urologic health, make an appointment with our urologist at RAMC by calling 608-768-3900 or visiting our urology page.