High levels of heat, humidity can lead to urinary stones
Dubai, May 17, 2011
High levels of heat and humidity in summer in the region means that there is an increased likelihood of people experiencing chronic dehydration, a condition that can lead to urinary stone formation, said a Dubai-based urologist.
Dr Amgad Farouk, a consultant urologist at Medcare Hospital, has urged the region’s residents to ensure that they drink adequate amounts of water to avoid developing urinary stones, especially during summer.
“The high temperatures we are now encountering as we head towards the summer mean that individuals are much more likely to become dehydrated; particularly those who are outside for extended periods or who are not fully acclimatised to the region,” Dr Farouk warned.
“Chronic dehydration can result and this predisposes a person to developing kidney stones. Although the problems of acute dehydration are generally appreciated, not many people are aware of the long-term health implications of having too little water intake over an extended period, with one of these being the formation of kidney stones,” he added.
Dr. Farouk stressed that the high levels of moisture in the atmosphere in this part of the world reduces the evaporation of sweat, meaning that a body’s overheated temperature remains elevated. This leads to further perspiration and fluid loss as the body tries to cool itself down.
“If the fluid lost through excessive sweating isn’t replaced by sufficient water intake, then urine becomes concentrated as the body tries to conserve liquid. This situation creates the perfect condition for the formation of stones,” he pointed out.
“The stones are generally formed from calcium or the waste product uric acid and start off from microscopic deposits that are not flushed out of the body because of a decrease in urine output. These minute deposits attract more and more particles until a stone is formed. These stones can then obstruct the kidney, the ureter - which is the tube leading from the kidney to the bladder - or they can descend to the bladder itself, producing severe irritation,” he added.
Dr Farouk suspects stone formation when patients present to him with pain in the loin, or lumbar region, which is often severe and may be accompanied by blood in the urine. Treatment is usually non-invasive and accomplished through the use of Extracorporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy (ESWL); a procedure which directs shock waves to break down the stones and allow them to be passed naturally. Smaller stones that are less than 5mm in diameter are often passed without the need for intervention and follow an increase in water intake to flush them through.
Dr Farouk highlighted the fact that certain foods containing high levels of purine, such as liver, sardines, anchovies and nuts, can also be responsible for kidney stone formation as they release uric acid into the blood when eaten. However, he stressed that it is the intake of water that is the primary means to reduce stones developing.
“Five or six years ago we would advise people with a tendency toward uric acid stones to cut down on these foods. Since then, however, it has been found that it is urine output that is the prime determining factor for stone formation and that if 1.2 litres is passed each day, there is a much reduced chance of them developing,” he said.
“To pass this amount, a healthy individual should consume about three to four litres of water spread throughout the day. This will help flush the kidney and bladder regularly and reduce the chance of any crystal deposits forming. Anyone who has previously developed stones should double this amount, as research has shown that they are much more likely to develop them again in the future,” he added.-TradeArabia News Service