Experts are telling why cases of kidney stones are increasing among the youth due to heat

Rains in many parts of India have brought some respite from the scorching heat to people, especially in the northern parts of the country. However, this relief has also brought health problems related to waterlogging and disruption of medical facilities, affecting millions of people.

Intense heat waves cause heat stroke cases and heat-related deaths when the temperature exceeds 45 degrees Celsius (113 degrees Fahrenheit). A study conducted by the All India Institute of Medical Sciences Delhi (AIIMS) revealed a rise in cases of kidney stones, following which WION spoke to doctors to understand the impact of a heat wave on our kidneys.

Kidney stones can be a painful and frequent condition that is on the rise among the younger population. Recently, it has been observed that there has been a rise in kidney cases among the youth. Kidney stones are deposits of minerals and salts that form inside the kidneys. They affect parts of the urinary tract, from the kidneys to the bladder. When the stones pass through the urinary tract, it causes urinary tract infection, severe pain, and vomiting. It can also cause other complications such as fever and sepsis.

Experts say the trend is worrisome as it reflects a change in the traditional demographics associated with the condition. The major factor contributing to the condition is prolonged exposure to heat waves.

Responding to WION, Dr. Amit Tiwari, Consultant – Urology, Manipal Hospital, Gurugramhighlighted how this problem is affecting the younger generation. He said traditionally kidney stones were seen in older adults. However, as per recent trends, there has been an increase in the number of kidney stones diagnosed in younger adults. Several factors, including sedentary lifestyle, environmental factors such as heat waves, and eating habits contribute to the increase.

Dr. Tirthankar Mohanty, Consultant Nephrologist, Manipal Hospital, Ghaziabad Speaking to WION, he said, “As the ambient temperature increases, we lose more water through sweat. This makes us dehydrated, and as you know, kidney stones are salt crystals made primarily of calcium, which accumulate at a greater rate when we are dehydrated.”

Dr. Pankaj Kumar Gupta, Consultant Urologist, Department of Urology, Calcutta Medical Research Institute (CMRI)told WION: “There is a rise in the incidence of kidney stone formation and related complications including kidney infections and kidney failure among the youth these days. Hot weather conditions, busy lifestyle and unhealthy diet are the primary reasons behind kidney-related diseases.”

What are the main factors and how to mitigate the problem?

Dr Gupta said that sedentary lifestyle, eating out, eating packaged food and dehydration can contribute to the formation of kidney stones as well as hinder the spontaneous passage of small stones in the kidney.

Dr Tiwari said that young people often underestimate the importance of drinking enough water, especially during sports and outdoor activities. This ignorance leads to serious health concerns. He said that it is important for everyone, especially the younger population, to understand the importance of hydration.

“If you exercise or spend time in the heat, you should drink at least three litres of fluids a day or more,” Dr Tiwari said.

Dr. Mohanty said that not only drinking water but the process of urination also plays an important role in this. He said that to avoid kidney stones, we should urinate at least 2.5 liters per day. He admitted that it is very difficult to measure urine, so to make the urine look white, one should drink as much water as possible.

“If your urine looks yellow, it means you are dehydrated. You should increase your water intake,” said Dr Mohanty.

What role does diet play in the formation of kidney stones?

Experts say that we should have a balanced and healthy approach towards our kidney health. Eating habits, especially a high protein diet, salty foods like pickles, dry fruits and drinking less water, are the main factors that increase the chances of kidney stones.

Dr Mohanty said that eating less salt is beneficial for kidney health. He said that salt, which is sodium, increases the removal of calcium through urine, increasing the tendency of calcium stone formation. He also advised that fruits and vegetables should be consumed as they make your urine more alkaline, which prevents stone formation, especially calcium oxalate, which is the most common. He said that it is not advisable to consume too much of oxalate-rich foods like spinach, nuts, etc.

He clearly mentioned that people should know that it is not a good idea to completely eliminate those foods from their diet as they have some other health benefits. So when you eat their healthy foods, they should be eaten in moderation.

Dr Tiwari said that eating water-rich fruits and vegetables is beneficial. He also spoke about the importance of awareness and said that universities and educational institutions also play a big role in informing people about the risks of dehydration and the importance of maintaining regular fluid intake.


Srishti Singh Sisodia

Srishti Singh Sisodia is a digital journalist at WION and mainly writes on world politics. She is a big fan of FCBarcelona. She follows and loves world sports

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