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Kidney Stone Disease: An Overview
‘Approximately 1.7 million Australians aged 18 years and over have indicators of chronic kidney disease, such as reduced kidney function or the presence of albumin in the urine. ’ — Australian Bureau of Statistics
Kidney stone disease is one of the most common disorders of the urinary system. There are four types of kidney stones or renal calculi: calcium oxalate, uric acid, struvite and cystine. These stones when not treated or managed accordingly, may block the flow of urine and cause infection, kidney damage or worse, kidney failure that may result to premature death.
If you feel that you might be experiencing signs of kidney stone disease, consult a medical practitioner immediately. This way, you can be assessed by your doctor and find the appropriate treatment plan for your condition.
Kidney Stone Treatment and Prevention
There are various treatment methods to remove stones formed in the kidney. These include: endoscopic procedure, percutaneous nephrolithotomy, open surgery, lithotripsy and extracorporeal shockwave lithotripsy (ESWL).
Anyone who has had kidney stone disease can prevent it’s recurrence by making lifestyle changes and using medications.
Essential Tips to Prevent Kidney Stone Formation
If you have had a urinary stone, these are some preventative measures that you can do to minimise its onset and stop its recurrence.
- Drink adequate amounts of water throughout the day. Doctors recommend drinking 2 to 3 litres of water a day to prevent your urine becoming concentrated. The colour of the urine should be light and clear like water: “if it’s white, it’s right!”
- Reduce the sodium in your diet. High sodium in your diet may increase the amount of calcium in your urine, resulting to the formation of kidney stones. To prevent the formation make sure to reduce your daily sodium intake. Doctors suggest limiting your total sodium intake to 1,500 mg on a daily basis.
- Limit eating animal protein and oxalate-rich food. Eating red meat, seafood, eggs and poultry may boost the level of uric acid in your urine, leading to the formation of uric acid stones. Also, limit your intake of oxalate-rich food, such as nuts, beets, okra, spinach, tea, sweet potatoes, chocolate and soy products because these may induce the formation of calcium oxalate stones.
- Visit your doctor for a regular check-up. If you have been tested, ask your doctor to check you for any metabolic causes of stone formation: this involves a routine blood test to assess calcium and uric acid levels.
- Follow the medical advice you are given. To stop the recurrence of this disease, make sure to follow the medical advice given to you by your physician. Depending on what kind of stone you have, additional treatment may be recommended.
Preventing kidney stones simply means preventing the conditions that support its formation. So make sure to follow these simple tips to help prevent its recurrence.