Renal calculi are commonly known as kidney stones. These stones are the masses of solid crystals that form usually in kidneys. The interesting fact about them is that, apart from developing in the kidney, they can develop anywhere along your urinary tract. The places or organs in which they can develop are as follows;
Kidney stones are very painful. And this pain varies as there are different types and sizes of kidney stones. Mostly they are made up of crystals but there are also kidney stones that are not made up of crystals.
The different types of kidney stones
- Calcium – calcium kidney stones are the most common type of kidney stones. They are made up of calcium oxalate.
- Uric Acid – uric acid kidney stones are the second most common kidney stones. People who are diagnosed with gout, diabetes, obesity, and other types of metabolic syndrome are mostly diagnosed with these types of kidney stones.
- Struvite – struvite kidney stones are found in those who have urinary tract infections. These stones are larger in comparison, and they can cause obstructions as well. They are caused by kidney infections.
- Cystine – cystine kidney stones are found in both males and females who have the genetic disorder cystinuria. They are developed because of the leakage of acid from the kidneys.
What are the causes behind kidney stones?
As we know, kidney stones are different types of solid crystals. Some different reasons and causes influence their development. Some of the reasons given below are considered as the cause behind the kidney stones development;
- Soft drinks – the soft drinks or beverages are high in fructose and phosphates and their excessive consumption might lead to kidney stones.
- Oxalates – oxalates are considered organic compounds and are found in different foods. These organic compounds are found in foods like spinach and sweet potatoes. The beneficial aspect of oxalates is that they bind with calcium which then helps in reducing the chance of kidney stones.
- Salt (specifical sodium) – the intake of excessive amounts of sodium that you will be getting from the table salt thus resulting in the increased amount of calcium present in your urine. This increased amount of calcium that is present in your pee leads to the development of kidney stones. Eating calcium-rich food is good but consuming excessive amounts of salt can lead to the formation of these stones.
- Vitamin C supplements – vitamin C supplements are good for health, but excessive and regular consumption of vitamin C supplements can lead to the formation of kidney stones. Although if you want to add vitamin C to your diet, you can always include foods that are rich in vitamin C.
- Animal protein – excessive amount of animal protein also leads to the formation of calcium and uric acid in the body. And it results in the development of kidney stones.
- Medications – there are drugs, prescriptions, and antacids that contribute to the formation of kidney stones. Some of these drugs can be;
- Certain medications for cancer, HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus), and Epilepsy
- Previous kidney stones – if you have kidney stones earlier there are chances that you can get them again unless you need to take certain precautions to avoid the situation.
Certain conditions promote the formation and development of kidney stones. Some of them are listed below;
Obesity – if you come into the category of obesity, it is more likely that you can develop them even more easily.
Gout – gout is considered a painful condition that happens when uric acids build up in your blood. And this buildup of uric acids in blood results in the formation of the crystal leading to kidney stones.
Intestinal surgery – if a person had intestinal surgery the chances of developing kidney stones are high.
Hyperthyroidism – hyperthyroidism is a state in which the calcium level rises in the blood, and it results in the development of kidney stones.
Certain kidney disease – polycystic kidney disease is a type of disease in which a cluster of cysts starts to grow in the kidneys. Apart from this, there is also a medullary sponge kidney, a birth defect that causes cysts to form in the organ’s tubes.
How can you prevent the formation and development of kidney stones?
If you want to prevent the formation and development of kidney stones, then being hydrated is the answer. It is recommended to drink an adequate amount of fluid to excrete at least 2.5 liters of urine every day. The more you urinate the more your kidneys remain flushed and clean. Another thing that you can do is Eat oxalate-rich foods in moderation and reduce your intake of salt and animal proteins. This will surely help in lowering the risk for the formation of kidney stones.
Some of the other ways that you can follow to avoid the formation and development of kidney stones are as follows;
- Eat calcium-rich food more – eating calcium-rich food is beneficial to prevent the formation of kidney stones. The most common type of kidney stones is formulated because of calcium oxalate. Low calcium diets directly result in the formation of kidney stones. Hence one needs to eat a diet that consists of a good amount of calcium-rich food.
- Avoid eating excessive sodium – eating excessive amounts of salt (sodium) in food results in the formation of kidney stones. Hence it is recommended to eat less salt. Consuming too much salt in the urine prevents calcium from being reabsorbed from the urine to the blood. This causes high urine calcium, and this leads to kidney stones. You can always eat food that is rich in sodium which will be beneficial for your health as compared to eating salt.
- Eat fewer oxalate-rich foods – oxalate is the natural compound that is found in foods. It binds with calcium in the urine resulting in the formation of kidney stones.
- Eat less animal protein – animal protein foods are acidic, and they increase the acidic nature of the urine. The high urine acidic nature can further promote the development of both uric acid and calcium oxalate kidney stones.
- Avoid excessive intake of vitamin C supplements – excessive intake of vitamin C supplements results in the formation of kidney stones. Hence, it is always recommended that you need to eat food rich in vitamin C instead of consuming vitamin C supplements.
- Explore herbal medications – if someone thinks and feels that they are going to develop kidney stones then they can go for herbal medication. But there is this one thing that they need to keep in mind; use herbal medication with caution because they are not well regulated for the prevention or the treatment of kidney stones.
Note: In some cases where the change in the diet is not enough. Hence, in those cases, you can consult with your doctors so they can tell you what is best for you and what type of precautions you need.
Kidney stones are common. There is no absolute solution to prevent the formation of kidney stones. Although the above-mentioned measure will reduce the risk. The best option to avoid kidney stone formation is to be hydrated properly and adequately. If you have a condition that increases your risk of kidney stones, such as inflammatory bowel disease, persistent urinary tract infection, or obesity, talk to your doctor about ways to manage it to decrease your kidney stone risk.
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