Times of Oman
Dec 01, 2015 LAST UPDATED AT 01:04 AM GMT
Kidney stones
December 13, 2012 | 12:00 AM

Having a kidney stone can be one of the most painful experiences of your life, one you won't want to repeat. Unfortunately, once you have had one kidney stone, you are most likely to have another. Preventing kidney stones is important, not only to avoid pain but because large stone can harm the kidneys. Your kidneys perform an essential job — filtering waste from your blood and removing it from your body as urine. To do their jobs properly, they need the right balance of liquids and dissolved solids and when this balance is out of whack, a kidney stone can form. These hard, crystal lumps develop from dissolved solids in the urine which can be tinier than a grain of sand or as big as a golf ball. Kidney stones are made of different substances. Calcium oxalate accounts for 70-80 per cent of them while others include struvite stones caused by urinary infections, and uric acid stones caused by too much uric acid in the urine. If you think that you have a kidney stone, get medical attention right away and consult the urologist immediately.
Simple lifestyle changes to prevent kidney stones.

Water: People who live in the "stone belt", a region of the southeastern United States, are more likely to develop kidney stones. Studies indicate that the hot weather causes increased perspiration and reduced urine output but drinking lots of water can help because it dilutes the urine and washes away potential stone causing particles out of your body. If you have had a kidney stone, drinking extra water could cut in half your risk of having another one. Remember to increase your water consumption during hot weather and increased physical activities.

Calcium: Since calcium is the major component of kidney stones, the kidney stone sufferers were once instructed to avoid calcium rich foods but the researches indicate that people with the highest intake of dietary calcium are actually less likely to develop kidney stones although the same is not applicable to calcium supplements (which have been found to increase the risk in some people). Also it is believed that calcium from food sources may help prevent kidney stones by binding to oxalate in your digestive system.

Magnesium and potassium: Both these vital minerals play a crucial role in preventing kidney stone formation by contributing significantly in absorption and assimilation of the available dietary calcium in the body. Magnesium helps prevent calcium from combining with oxalates whereas potassium reduces the amount of calcium in your urine. So add some magnesium to your potassium and you could cut your risk of kidney stones dramatically.
Plant proteins: Kidney stones are more common in developed countries where a high intake of animal protein may be blamed. High levels of animal proteins can not only increase urinary calcium and decrease urinary citrate but also increase the risk of uric acid stones. So a better solution is to get your protein from plant sources along with a balanced proportion of the healthy minerals.

Juice it up: If you are drinking glass after glass of water to help avoid kidney stones, fill one up with fresh lime juice for a change. A high level of urinary citrate may lower your risk of kidney stones and lemonade may increase your citrate level. Not just any citrus juice will do; lemon juice has about five times more citric acid than orange juice and drinking grapefruit juice may actually increase your risk of kidney stones.

Avoid the oxalate containing foods like spinach, rhubarb, beets, nuts, chocolate, tea, coffee, cola, soy products, wheat bran, and strawberries; avoid animal protein sources, and limit the amount of sugar and salt in your diet.

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