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How to prevent kidney stones

How to prevent kidney stones

A kidney stone is made up of waste products in your urine

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(Web Desk) - Kidney stones aren't entirely preventable, but you can take steps to reduce your risk.

Drinking plenty of fluids (ideally water) is arguably the best way to prevent kidney stones - or to avoid recurrence if you've had them before.

Other key measures include adding calcium to your diet and reducing your intake of sodium, animal protein, and foods rich in oxalate.

This article explains why kidney stones can be difficult for some people to avoid. It also describes 10 ways to prevent kidney stones and remedies that may help dissolve stones if you have them.

A kidney stone is made up of waste products in your urine. When there is too much waste and too little fluid, the waste can start to crystallize and grow into a solid "stone" that is passed out of the body when you urinate (pee).

The stone-forming chemicals include calcium, oxalate, urate (uric acid), cystine, xanthine, and phosphate.

The prevention of kidney stones is largely focused on avoiding the accumulation of these minerals and chemicals in your urine.

Drink More Water

Drinking enough liquid, mainly water, is the most important thing you can do to prevent kidney stones, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

Many healthcare providers recommend that you drink six to eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day. Doing so dilutes your urine and prevents the crystallization of waste products that can lead to kidney stones.

Cut Back on Oxalate-Rich Food

Oxalate is a natural compound found in vegetables, fruits, nuts, and grains. When you eat oxalate, it typically binds to calcium in the intestine and leaves the body in stool.
But if there is not enough calcium to bind to, it will be absorbed into the bloodstream and end up in the urine, where it can form into a calcium oxalate stone (the most common type of kidney stone).

Reduce Your Sodium Intake

When you eat too much salt (sodium), the body will get rid of it in urine. When this happens, the excreted sodium will take calcium with it, causing calcium levels to drop. This can lead to the accumulation of oxalate in your urine, resulting in a kidney stone.

Avoid High-Purine Foods

Shellfish, organ meats, and some other foods have high concentrations of a natural chemical compound called purine. Consuming too much purine can increase the levels of uric acid in your bloodstream and urine, leading to the formation of uric acid stones. Having these types of stones tends to run in families.

Eat Less Animal Protein

High-protein diets can increase your risk of kidney stones. This is especially true if you overconsume animal protein, which raises uric acid levels (increasing the risk of uric acid stones) and also promotes the elimination of calcium in your urine (increasing the risk of calcium oxalate stones).

How Much Protein Should I Eat?

The recommended daily intake of protein for a sedentary adult is 0.8 g per kilogram of body weight (g/kg). For a person weighing 165 pounds (75 kilograms), that would translate to roughly 60 g (2.1 ounces) per day.

Try the DASH Diet

The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet is an eating plan endorsed by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute to prevent and manage high blood pressure. The DASH diet is high in calcium and rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, legumes, and low-fat dairy.
Be Careful With Vitamin C

As beneficial as vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is to your health, taking too many vitamin C supplements may increase your risk of kidney stones. This is because the metabolization (breakdown) of vitamin C in the liver results in the formation of oxalate.

Lose Weight

Obesity, defined as a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher, is also linked to an increased risk of kidney stones. Not only is obesity associated with hypertension (a known risk factor for kidney stone recurrence), but it also increases the urinary excretion of uric acid and calcium.

Bring Your Blood Pressure Under Control

Hypertension is strongly linked to kidney stones. Although the exact cause of this is known, studies have shown that people with high blood pressure have over 20% greater excretion of uric acid, calcium, and oxalate in urine compared to people without high blood pressure.