Diet and climate could contribute to spike in kidney stone diagnoses in Jacksonville

Life in the south linked to spike in kidney stones

Heath experts said the climate and diet of people in Jacksonville could be to blame for a spike in kidney stones. Research shows this condition affects about 3.8 million people in the U.S. each year and is even more common in the summer.

Kidney stones, also called renal lithiasis or nephrolithiasis, are hard deposits made of minerals and salts that form inside your kidneys.

According to the Mayo Clinic, kidney stones have many causes and can affect any part of your urinary tract, from your kidneys to your bladder.

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Often, stones form when the urine becomes concentrated, allowing minerals to crystallize and stick together.

Passing kidney stones can be quite painful, but the stones usually cause no permanent damage if they're recognized in a timely fashion.

Dr. William Haley, with the Mayo Clinic, said that, if you get a kidney stone, you must change your lifestyle.

He said high-sodium diets, dehydration, and the outdoor environment affects our health.

“Vast majority of cases are preventable. I call it highly preventable, highly painful and highly recurrent, otherwise,” said Dr. Haley.

Growing evidence suggests that the incidence of kidney stones is increasing steadily, especially in women.

  • Family or personal history. If someone in your family has kidney stones, you're more likely to develop stones, too. And if you've already had one or more kidney stones, you're at increased risk of developing another.
  • Dehydration. Not drinking enough water each day can increase your risk of kidney stones. People who live in warm climates and those who sweat a lot may be at higher risk than others.
  • Certain diets. Eating a diet that's high in protein, sodium (salt) and sugar may increase your risk of some types of kidney stones. This is especially true with a high-sodium diet. Too much salt in your diet increases the amount of calcium your kidneys must filter and significantly increases your risk of kidney stones.
  • Being obese. High body mass index, or BMI, a large waist size and weight gain have been linked to an increased risk of kidney stones.
  • Digestive diseases and surgery. Gastric bypass surgery, inflammatory bowel disease or chronic diarrhea can cause changes in the digestive process that affect your absorption of calcium and water, increasing the levels of stone-forming substances in your urine.
  • Other medical conditions. Diseases and conditions that may increase your risk of kidney stones include renal tubular acidosis, cystinuria, hyperparathyroidism, certain medications and some urinary tract infections.

To learn more about the diagnosis and treatment options, click here.