Health In Focus
Kidney stones are traditionally known to be prevalent among middle-aged white men. However, recent studies have shown that there is a shift in prevalence.

A recent study conducted in South Carolina showed that the rate of kidney stones have increased over a period of 20 years with increasing prevalence among,
  • Children
  • Adolescents
  • Females
  • Blacks

Kidney Stone Prevalence Among Adolescents On the Rise
This study collected data from people suffering from kidney stones during the period 1997-2012. Data was collected from U.S Census and South Carolina Medical Encounter Data and financial reports.

Highlights of the study:
  • 153,000 pediatric, as well as adult patients, were treated for kidney stones between 1997-2012.
  • Annual incidence- increased by 16%.
  • Largest incidence among 15 to 19-year-olds.
  • The childhood cumulative risk for kidney stones was more or less the same for both boys as well as girls.
    • Girls(87%)
    • Boys (90%)
  • The lifetime risk for kidney stones increased for women while it remained constant for men.
    • Women - 10.5% to 15.2% increase
    • Men- 23%
  • Incidence of kidney stone based on race showed that there was significant increase among blacks when compared with whites.
    • Blacks- 15%
    • Whites- 3%
Dr. Gregory Tasian from The University of Pennsylvania said, " Kidney stones have increased 70% over the last 30 years in adults in the U.S., and we are also seeing higher rates of kidney stones in children across the U.S."

Reason Behind the High Incidence of Kidney Stone

The increase in the incidence of kidney stones is a worrying factor, but it is important to identify underlying factors that contribute to the increased incidence.

Dr. Clarke, an expert on kidney stones states that the increased incidence could be due to,
Victoriano Romero in the paper titled " Kidney Stones: A Global Picture of Prevalence, Incidence, and Associated Risk Factors" discusses the factors that increase the risk of kidney stone formation.

In the paper, the scientists argue that genetic and environmental factors are the causes for kidney stone formation. However, a significant genetic change triggering the high incidence of kidney stones is unlikely and it is largely due to dietary habits and global warming.

Dietary Changes that Lead to Kidney Stone Formation:
  • Increased consumption of corn and corn starch food
  • Increased consumption of fructose-rich foods
  • Decreased intake of Calcium and fluid
  • Increased Oxalate consumption
  • Increased intake of animal protein
Global warming

The increase in global temperature as a result of global warming has also been found to increase incidence of kidney stones. This was first brought to the fore when considerable American soldiers posted in Kuwait between 2002 and 2004 developed kidney stones.

Brikowski and colleagues in their paper titled " Climate-related increase in the prevalence of urolithiasis in the United States" have shown that people living in certain regions are more prone to the disease than people living elsewhere.

The risk for kidney stones will increase from 40% in 2000 to 56% in 2050 and then up to 70% in 2095.

Dr. Scales believes that kidney stones may foreshadow medical conditions that may occur in the future like chronic kidney disease, heart diseases and bone density loss. This necessitates better screening procedures and the need to bring about lifestyle, dietary changes and home remedies that can limit the risk for kidney stones.



2. Victoriano Romero, Haluk Akpinar and Dean G Assimos, "Kidney Stones: A Global Picture of Prevalence, Incidence, and Associated Risk Factors" Rev Urol. 2010 Spring-Summer; 12(2-3): e86-e96

3. Brikowski TH1, Lotan Y, Pearle MS, "Climate-related increase in the prevalence of urolithiasis in the United States." Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2008 Jul 15

Source: Medindia

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