Summer is not only synonymous with good weather, outdoor activities and longer days. Heat and sweat are also accompanied by some skin and health problems, and in this good weather, it can increase the risk of kidney stones. It is estimated that the cases of people with this pathology increase by 40% due to rising temperatures during these hot months.
What are kidney stones?
Kidney stones are small crystals formed by the heavy deposition of minerals and salts in the kidney. These stones form when the concentration of crystal-forming substances increases in the urine and can travel to the ureter, the tube that connects the kidney and the bladder.
The amino acids, proteins, bicarbonate, calcium, phosphate and potassium are some of the common minerals that lead to stone formation. It is estimated that around 12% of the population will have a urinary stone during their lifetimeespecially between the ages of 30 and 50. Also, people who form stones do so more than once in his life.
When the kidney stone begins to move is when it causes symptoms such as severe pain in the back, below the ribs, pain that spreads to the lower abdomen and groin, that comes and goes and fluctuates in intensity; pain when urinating; pink, red, or brown urine with an unpleasant odor; nausea and vomiting; and even fever and chills if there is an infection.
Renal lithiasis, a common pathology in the summer months
Why is this happening? The main reason for the increase in kidney stones in summer is the lack of hydration. As the temperature rises, we sweat more, which leads to fluid loss from the body.
To compensate for this fluid loss, we need to drink more water. Dehydration can cause the body’s fluids to become more concentrated with dietary minerals, such as calcium, and can increase the risk of kidney stones.
Therefore, the reason is mainly due to the amount of water we drink and use. In the heat we may not be drinking as much as we should, or not drinking the right fluids, so we become dehydrated, which can lead to more stone formation.
When this balance is disrupted, for example due to fluid loss, substances that normally pass out of the body through urine break apart and form stones, which can be as small as a grain of sugar or as large as a marble. pingpong.
Tips to prevent the formation of kidney stones
As we have seen, the formation of a stone is influenced by multiple diseases as well as genetic and environmental factors. Stress, sedentary lifestyle, low water intake and other dietary factors are the most influential. To prevent it, the Spanish Association of Urology (AEU) recommends a series basic tips:
- Drink abundant liquids: At a minimum, experts advise taking two liters of liquid daily, which is what will guarantee us two liters of urine a day. When the heat is extreme, you should increase your fluid intake, especially water, and avoid soft drinks, alcohol or industrial juices.
- Reduce the consumption of salt: high intake of salty foods (bread, sausages, crackers, salted meats, snacks or precooked food) contributes to high blood pressure, increases the elimination of calcium in the urine and, therefore, the formation of stones. not recommended overcome the daily intake two to three grams of salt.
- Minimize the intake of animal protein: It is important to reduce the consumption of red meat, chicken, fish or eggs by no more than 0.8 g/kg of body weight per day.
- Prioritize high-fiber foods: fruits and vegetables should be the pillar of a balanced diet. It is recommended to consume at least three pieces of fruit a day and two servings of vegetables.
- Prevail a normocalcemic diet: Unless there are medical reasons that advise against it, the minimum daily intake of calcium should be between 800 and 1,000 milligrams. In adults, this translates into the consumption of two to three servings of dairy products per day (a serving is 250 milliliters of milk, two yogurts or 40-50 grams of cheese).
- Avoid sedentary lifestyle and control weight: Obesity is a factor associated with stone formation.
- Limit the consumption of oxalate-rich foods: People who are susceptible to forming one of the most common kidney stones, calcium oxalate, should limit their intake of foods such as nuts, spinach or chocolate.
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