Kidney Stones: What's your risk?
Risk factors are things that make you more likely to develop kidney stones. People who don’t drink enough water are at higher risk of getting them that those who do. Assess your risk factors below. The more “yes” answers, the higher your risk of forming kidney stones.
Do you drink fewer than eight 12-ounce glasses of water a day?
Highly concentrated urine, associated with low fluid intake, is a risk factor for stone formation. Doctors recommend you drink at least eight 12-ounce glasses of water a day, more if you sweat a lot or work outside in the heat.
Have you ever had a kidney stone?
If you have had a kidney stone in the past, you are at increased risk of forming more stones in the future.
Has anyone in your family (blood relative) had a kidney stone?
Calcium oxalate stones, which are the most common type of stone, tend to run in families. While a family history does not guarantee stone formation, it does increase the likelihood.
Are you male?
Men are more likely to develop kidney stones, although the disorder is becoming more common in women.
Do you have blood in the urine?
Blood in the urine, called hematuria, can come from any part of the urinary tract. The most common causes are infection, stones and tumors. It is important that the cause of bleeding be determined to rule out cancers or stones that are causing blockages.
Do you live in a hot climate or participate in strenuous exercise that causes you to perspire a lot?
Anything that decreases urine production can increase the risk of stones. When less urine is produced, the same amount of waste products are concentrated in a smaller volume of urine. It’s important to “make up the difference” by drinking more fluids.
Do you have bowel disease such as Crohn's, or have you had bariatric bypass surgery for weight loss?
Alterations in bowel function or length of bowel from surgery affect how and what is absorbed by the intestine. As a consequence, urine is altered and these patients may form stones more readily.
Are you overweight?
Obesity and weight gain are associated with higher risk of stone formation, even after correcting for dietary influence, age and fluid intake.
Do you have gout?
Gout and kidney stones are directly related – they both occur because of high levels of uric acid. Reducing the intake of purine (a component of protein) and maintaining good hydration can help. Talk to your doctor about your kidneys and medications that may help to control the levels of uric acid in your bloodstream.
Do you have Type 2 diabetes?
Several studies have shown that insulin resistant patients form very acidic urine. This puts them at increased risk of uric acid stone formation.