World Health Day 2022: Doctors share preventive measures to avoid kidney stones

Updated on Apr 07, 2022 02:35 PM IST

World Health Day 2022: Doctors recommend avoiding false promises of having kidney stone dissolved naturally as that cannot happen. The best treatment they suggest is prevention which can be done by implementing these healthy measure in our daily life 

World Health Day 2022: Doctors share preventive measures to avoid kidney stones (Twitter/EmmanuelAdie17)
World Health Day 2022: Doctors share preventive measures to avoid kidney stones (Twitter/EmmanuelAdie17)
ByZarafshan Shiraz, Delhi

Often termed as ‘silent diseases’ with very few early symptoms, kidney problems bring with it other associated health issues and in some cases even turn out to be life-threatening however, with preventive measures and regular check-ups, most kidney diseases can be managed including kidney stones. Made from chemicals like calcium, oxalate, urate, cystine, xanthine and phosphate in the urine, kidney stones are hard objects that usually may not exhibit symptoms unless it moves around within one's kidney or passes through their ureters. 

When this happens, it may block the flow of urine and result in swelling of the kidney which can be very painful. At this point, one may experience symptoms like severe and sharp pain in the side and back or below the ribs, pain in the lower abdomen and groin, pain or burning sensation while urinating, a constant need to urinate or urinating frequently, nausea and vomiting or fever and chills.

There are no symptoms of kidney disease that impact men specifically but men are more likely to get kidney stones than women hence, on the event of World Health Day 2022, we got two doctors on board to share preventive measures to avoid kidney stones. In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Shruti Tapiawala, Consultant Nephrologist and Renal Transplant Physician at Mumbai's Global Hospital, highlighted, “The incidence of kidney stones is increasing worldwide and kidney stones are known to damage the kidney. The commonest cause of stone formation is drinking less water. Drinking less water allows precipitation of minerals and substances in kidney tubules and due to less flow of urine, form stones. Some other contributing factors are obesity, laxative abuse, certain supplements and medications, and intestinal disorders.”

Echoing the same, Dr Zaheer Amin Virani, Consultant Nephrologist/Renal Specialist at Mumbai's Masina Hospital, revealed, “Kidney stones are a very common problem faced by a large part of our population. The hot humid climate along with poor water intake predisposes to this malady. The best treatment is prevention which can be done by implementing certain measures in our daily life.”

Preventive measures to avoid kidney stones:

Dr Shruti Tapiawala listed tips to prevent the formation of kidney stones. These include:

1. Drink more liquids in a quantity enough to keep the urine dilute and colored like water (one averagely requires 2-3 liters. The requirement may change based on the fluid losses from sweat etc). Avoid fizzy drinks.

2. Eat less salt it prevents stone-forming minerals to precipitate in the kidney tubes and hence prevents stone formation. Avoid processed and salty foods.

3. If you have recurrent stones, meet a kidney doctor who will evaluate you for recurrent stone formation with special tests which will identify the cause of recurrent stone formation.

4. If the stone is proven to be of oxalate kind, prevent and avoid eating vegetable and fruit seeds. Eg Deseed Tomatoes, guava, Okra, etc before eating.

5. Avoid unnecessary supplements, especially Vitamin C

She advised, “Avoid false promises of having stone dissolved naturally as that cannot happen. Removal/lithotripsy of obstructing stones and prevention of further stone formation is the only solution if someone forms recurrent stones.”

Adding to the list, Dr Zaheer Amin Virani recommended, “Staying well hydrated by drinking enough water is one of the best measures to avoid kidney stones. One should aim for 2.5-3 liters of water per day. Patients with recurrent stone disease often have obesity, diabetes mellitus, and hypertension indicating a metabolic syndrome. Weight loss and exercise will help with the above risk factors along with a sense of well-being for the individual. Specific dietary interventions can be recommended if the stone composition is known."

He also suggested adding citrus fruits to the diet as they may increase citrate and reduce stone formation. He elaborated, "Low sodium intake is essential. Limiting sodium to 3 grams each day is recommended. Hidden sources of sodium such as canned or commercially processed foods and fast foods should be identified and avoided. Low animal protein intake is advisable. Calcium oxalate stone formers should abstain from supplemental but not dietary vitamin C. High oxalate foods though delicious and nutritious need not be avoided completely and one can pair calcium-rich foods with oxalate-rich foods.”

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