KIDNEY STONES

Kidney stones can also be referred to as renal calculi, nephrolithiasis, or urolithiasis. They are hard deposits made of minerals and salt that is formed inside the kidneys.

Causes of Kidney Stones

There is no definite, single cause of kidney stones, although several factors may increase an individual’s risk of having it. Kidney stones can be formed when the urine contains more crystal-forming substances such as calcium, oxalate, and uric acid than the fluid in the urine can dilute.

Risk Factors of Kidney Stones

  1. Reduced water intake and urine output: Making less than 1 liter of urine per day is the greatest risk factor for kidney stones.
  2. Age: Kidney stones are most likely to occur in people between the ages of 20 and 50.
  3. Gender: More men are likely to develop kidney stones than women
  4. Family History: A Family history of kidney stones can increase an individual’s risk of having it.
  5. Obesity
  6. Diet: A diet with high levels of protein, salt, or glucose.
  7. Some diseases such as Hyper parathyroid condition, inflammatory bowel diseases
  8. Taking medications such as triamterene diuretics, anti-seizure drugs, and calcium-based antacids increases the risk of kidney stones.

Symptoms of Kidney Stones

  1. Fever and chills
  2. Severe, sharp pain in the side and back, below the ribs that radiates to the lower abdomen and groin.
  3. Pink, red, or brown urine which can be cloudy or foul-smelling urine.
  4. Frequent urination.
  5. Cloudy or foul-smelling urine.
  6. Burning sensation while urinating
  7. Urinating more often than usual or urinating in small amounts.
  8. Nausea and vomiting.

Types of Kidney Stones

  1. Calcium: This is the most common type of kidney stone. They’re often made of calcium oxalate (though they can consist of calcium phosphate or maleate). High-oxalate foods include potato chips, peanuts, chocolate, beets, and spinach.
  • Uric acid: This type of kidney stone is more common in men than in women. This type of stone develops when urine is too acidic. A diet rich in purines can increase urine’s acidic level.
  • Struvite: This type of stone is found mostly in women with urinary tract infections (UTIs). Treating an underlying infection can prevent the development of struvite stones.
  • Cystine: Cystine stones are rare. They occur in both men and women who have the genetic disorder.

Diagnosis of Kidney Stones

  1. Blood testing: Blood tests may reveal too much calcium or uric acid and electrolytes in the blood. Blood urea nitrogen (BUN) and creatinine is done to assess kidney functioning.
  2. Urine testing: Test may show that there is excretion of too many stone-forming minerals or too few stone-preventing substances. Urinalysis can be done to check for crystals, bacteria, blood, and white cells.
  3. Imaging: Imaging tests may show kidney stones in the urinary tract. High-speed or dual energy computerized tomography (CT) may reveal even tiny stones.
  4. Analysis of passed stones: For this test, the client is asked to urinate through a strainer to catch stones that it’s passed. The information gotten is used to determine the cause of kidney stones and to form a plan to prevent more kidney stones.
  5. Ultrasound of the kidney: is a non-invasive test that is quick and easy to perform. It’s the preferred test for renal calculi

Treatment of Kidney Stones

  1. Drinking enough water: Drinking as much as 1.8 to 3.6 liters a day will keep the urine dilute and may prevent stones from forming.
  2. Pain relievers: Passing a small stone can cause discomfort. To relieve mild pain, pain relievers such as ibuprofen may be recommended.
  3. Medical therapy: Some medications known as an alpha-blocker, relaxes the muscles in the ureters, helping to pass the kidney stone more quickly and with less pain.
  4. Using sound waves to break up stones: For certain kidney stones, depending on size and location, a procedure called extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL) may be performed. It involves the use of sound waves to create strong vibrations (shock waves) that break the stones into tiny pieces that can be passed through urine.
  5. Surgery: It removes very large stones in the kidney. A procedure called percutaneous nephrolithotomy involves surgically removing a kidney stone using small telescopes and instruments inserted through a small incision at the back.
  6. Ureteroscopy: It involves the removal of a smaller stone in the ureter or kidney, a thin lighted tube (ureteroscope) equipped with a camera is passed through the urethra and bladder to the ureter.
  7. Parathyroid gland surgery: This is due to the overactive parathyroid gland, the glands produce too much parathyroid hormone (hyperparathyroidism), the calcium levels can become too high and kidney stones may form as a result.

Prevention

  1. Drink water throughout the day. For people with a history of kidney stones, doctors usually recommend drinking enough fluids to pass about (2 liters) of urine a day.
  2. Eat fewer oxalate-rich foods e.g., okra, spinach, potatoes, nuts, tea, chocolate, black pepper, etc.
  3. Maintaining a healthy weight can help to prevent kidney stones. 
  4. Reduce the amount of salt eaten and choose protein sources, such as legumes.

Complications

  1. Renal scarring and damage to the kidneys
  2. Permanent renal failure
  3. Bladder blockage
  4. Severe infections such as septicemia

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