People who have had kidney stones are at an increased risk of dialysis or kidney transplant later in life than those who had never suffered from it, finds a study.
University of Alberta faculty of medicine and dentistry researchers Todd Alexander and Marcello Tonelli tracked data of more than three million Albertans over an 11-year period from 1997 to 2009.
They discovered those with a history of kidney stones were twice as likely to have serious kidney problems later in life when compared to people who had never suffered from kidney stones, the British Medical Journal reported.
Women under the age of 50 years who had a history of kidney stones were four times as likely to later develop kidney failure. Although the actual number of those who developed kidney failure was small, the link to having a history of kidney stones was noteworthy, according to a university statement.
"I think what these results tell me, is that we should be screening those with a history of kidney stones for risk factors for the development of kidney disease," said Alexander, study co-author and practising paediatric nephrologist.
"I am not surprised by these findings because when you are passing a stone through a kidney, there is definitely the potential for permanent damage," said Alexander.
Alexander says the data is more alarming in the US where 10 to 11 percent of the population develops kidney stones. Half of those who get kidney stones will have a reoccurrence -- anywhere from one to several more episodes.
"It's important to note that the vast majority of people with kidney stones won't develop permanent kidney damage," said study co-author Tonelli.
"But a few will, and that's why it's important for people with stones to get proper follow-up care -- to reduce their risk of another stone, and to detect kidney damage if it has occurred."
People could try to decrease the likelihood of the development of kidney stones by decreasing their sodium intake, drinking more water and, if needed, taking certain medication, the researchers suggest.
It has been previously observed that those who develop kidney stones have kidneys that don't function at optimal levels, which is a factor in the whole issue.