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Kidney Stone Causes

Kidney stones are created when certain substances in the urine become concentrated and crystallize to form stones.  There are many different substances that kidney stones can be made of however; there are two main types.  The two main types of kidney stones are calcium and uric acid.  The other types of stones include struvite and cystine stones.  Calcium oxalate is the most common type of kidney stones.  Calcium oxalate kidney stones show up on X rays while uric acid kidney stones do not.

Calcium Stones

There are many factors that may cause the formation of kidney stones.  The most common cause of kidney stones is dehydration.  If the body does not have sufficient water to properly flush the kidneys then mineral deposits are more likely to crystallize into stones and be left behind in the kidneys.  Kidney stones can also be caused by excessive amounts of minerals in the blood processed by the kidneys and the kidneys are unable to completely flush the minerals.  Dietary factors can contribute the formations of kidney stones.  A diet high in calcium can increase the concentrations in the blood and lead to the calcium oxalate kidney stones.  Excessive amounts of vitamin D in a person’s diet can also lead to the formation of calcium stones.  Other factors that can lead to calcium stones include: overactive parathyroid glands, certain cancers, kidney disease, or a disease called sarcoidosis disease.

Uric Acid Stones

Uric acid stones are formed when excessive amounts of uric acid accumulate in the kidneys.  Dehydration can be a contributing factor to the development of uric acid kidney stones.  A diet that contain significant amounts of meat or alcohol can lead the excessive amounts of uric acid in the blood and eventually lead to uric acid stones forming in the kidneys.  Gout is one of the leading causes of uric acid stones.  Treatments such as chemotherapy can also increase the risk of developing uric acid kidney stones.

Struvite stones

Struvite stones are also called infection stones.  This type of kidney stone is caused by an excessive amount of ammonia in the urine.  The ammonia is a by product chemical created by the bacteria that causes urinary tract infections.  Since bacteria of a urinary tact infection is the cause of the ammonia build that is the reason these stones are commonly referred to as infection stones.  Since women more frequently get urinary tract infections they also are much more likely to get struvite kidneystones.

Cystine stones

Cystine stones are the last class of kidney stones.  Cystine kidney stones are caused by a hereditary condition  called cystinuria.  Cystinuria is a metabolic disease involving cystine.  The kidneys are not able to properly reabsorb the cystine.  The causes an excessive build up in the urine often leading to the development of cystine kidney stones.  Approximately 1 percent of men and woman are effected by this disorder.  About 25% of people who suffer from cystine stones develop their first stone by the age of 10.  The majority of the others will have their first stone during their adolescence.

Factors Contributing to Kidney Stones

Dehydration is one of the leading causes of kidney stones.  With out enough water the body has more difficulty in flushing the various minerals that cause stones from the kidneys.  People who live and work in hot environments are also more susceptible.

Hereditary conditions can also increase the chance of developing kidney stones.  Cystinuria is one such hereditary condition that leads to kidney stones.  If your family has a history of kidney stones they you are also much more likely to develop stones.

Kidney stones are most likely to occur in people between the age of 20 to 40 years old.

Men are more likely to develop the various types of kidney stones with the exception of struvite stones.  Women are more likely to develop struvite stones than men.

Having only one kidney increases the likely hood of developing kidney stones.  This is because it is more difficult for a single kidney to completely flush excess minerals during urination.

If your diet is high in protein and low in fiber, it increases your chance in getting kidney stones.  Diets high in protein often lead to a build up of uric acid in the body.  It is this excessive amount of uric acid that lead to the kidney stones.

Those that have poor mobility also are more likely to develop kidney stones.  People that have poor mobility often are catherderized.  Catheters can cause urinary tract infections causing the development of struvite stones.

If you have previously had a kidney stones regardless of the cause you are much more likely to develop kidney stones again.  People that have had a pervious kidney stone are 60% likely to get another kidney stone in 7 years.

Eliminating Kidney Stones

The typical western doctor approach to kidney stones is to let the stones pass on their own.  There is no prescription drug that can help eliminate the stones or help the stones pass.  Not all kidney stones cause pain but others can be extremely painful.  For stones that cause a lot of pain, prescription pain medication is often prescribed.  If the stone gets stuck in the urinary tract and will not pass then it must be manually removed.  There are four different procedures that may be used and they include: Extracorporeal Shockwave Lithotripsy, Ureteroscopy, Pecutaneous Neprostolithotomy, or open surgery.  Open surgery is typically the last result.

 



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