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Kidney stones (renal ston)
Kidney stone or renal stone is the condition of forming a crystalline mineral substance within the urinary tract (urolithiasis) or the kidney (nephrolithiasis). Normally, when a kidney stone is formed it is passed out in the urine, but if the size of the stone is 2-3 millimeters, they will block the ureter, resulting in an unbearable abdominal pain. Mostly, this condition can develop to the people within 20 to 49 years and is predominantly found in the males. Caucasians and Asians are prone to kidney stones that Africans and Native Americans. According to the statistics for U.S, there are around 4.5 million deaths every year due to kidney related diseases.
- Increase in the level of uric acid in the blood
- Family history of kidney stones due to metabolic conditions such as hyperoxaluria (kidney stone formation in childhood) and cystinuria (high levels of cystine in the urine).
- If fluid drinking habit is reduced, it leads to dehydration, causing kidney stone formation.
- Recurrent UTI (infection in the urinary tract)
- Excess of calcium absorption from the ingested food leads to formation of calcium oxalate or calcium phosphate stones. (hypercalciuria)
- Some medications and antacids which contain calcium.
- Diabetes type 2 or elevated blood pressure can lead to kidney stone formation.
- Calcium oxalate stones (they form crystals)
- Calcium phosphate stones
- Cystine stones (due to metabolic disorders)
- Struvite stones (due to urea splitting bacteria)
- A severe colicky pain may start and disappear in the belly rapidly.
- It may begin in the side of the belly and move towards the groin or testicles.
- Hematuria (Blood traced in the urine)
- Pyuria (Pus traced in the urine)
- Nausea and vomiting
- Postrenal azotemia (urine flow is blocked in the ureter)
- Oliguria (low volume of urine)
- Urinary tract infection
- Ureter obstruction
- Hydronephrosis (enlargement of kidneys)
- Reappearance of kidney stones
- Renal failure (kidney failure)
- Scarring of kidney
The urologist (specialist) carries out a general check up of the patient and notices the location and the typical colicky nature of the abdominal pain. Primary investigations like microscopic study of the urine, culture of urine sample are carried out. X-ray of the kidneys, bladder and ureters are needed to confirm the diagnosis and to know the exact size, location of the stone. A retrograde pyelogram is used for detecting kidney stones, by injecting a dye into the urethral opening. Computed tomography (CT scan) is also recommended to confirm the stone in the kidney. Ultrasound scan is preferred over CT scan to determine the swelling of kidney (hydronephrosis), as there is no exposure to radiation.
Medications are followed with the advice of an experienced urologist, which include medication (calcium channel blockers or diuretics). Lithotripsy, a process where shock waves are used to break and pass the stones in the urine may be advised. Ureteroscope used surgical removal is also undertaken, if other methods failed.
- All the people should make it a habit to drink 7-8 glasses of water everyday, so that roughly 2 liters of urine is passed each day.
- Have a diet low in nitrogen, sodium and protein.
- When the kidney stones run in the family, fruits such as blackcurrant, orange and cranberry may be eaten regularly to prevent stone formation.
- Avoid drinking caffeinated beverages.
- Avoid oxalate rich food like spinach, chocolate, poppy seed, and black pepper.
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