Chances are, you've either had a kidney stone or know someone who has. According to the National Kidney Foundation, one out of 10 people develops a kidney stone in his lifetime. That's a lot of excruciating pain — and doctors say they're seeing more kidney stones all of the time, thanks to rising obesity rates.
A kidney stone forms when your urine contains too much chemical waste and not enough liquid. If urine doesn't flush chemicals out of your body, then they will join together until they form a stone, which either stays in the kidney or moves into the urinary tract. Many stones are tiny and pass out of the body easily — but some are large enough to cause a backup of urine in the body and quite a bit of pain. The most common types of stones are calcium oxalate and uric acid stones.
Signs of kidney stones include severe lower back pain, blood in the urine, and nausea or vomiting. Once you've had a kidney stone, you're more likely to get another one. That's why it's important to take dietary precautions to decrease the likelihood of stone formation.
First and foremost, make sure you're drinking plenty of water, especially if you're sweating a lot. Sweat decreases the amount that you urinate, thus increasing your chances of forming a stone. Make sure that your urine stays clear or light-colored; if it's dark, you are not drinking enough water.
Some studies suggest that the citrate found in lemonade, limeade and other citrus drinks might keep crystals in the kidneys from binding together and forming stones. Just be sure to drink sugar-free lemonade; sugar can increase your risk of forming a kidney stone.
Reduce your sodium intake
When your sodium intake increases, so does the amount of calcium your kidneys excrete. That calcium is attracted to stone-forming chemicals such as oxalate and phosphorus. Fast food and processed foods, including frozen dinners, are generally high in sodium.
Cut back on high-purine foods
Purine is a natural chemical compound, and high-purine foods—which include meat, particularly organ meats, bacon and beef, and seafood, such as lobster and shrimp — introduce extra uric acid into your system. (High-protein weight-loss diets are frequently associated with kidney stones.) When your urine is more acidic, you're more likely to develop uric acid stones.
Limit high-oxalate foods
Oxalate is a waste compound formed by the body, and it's also found in certain foods, including some that are healthy (think dark leafy vegetables) and some that aren't (cola). Oxalate combines with calcium to form stones. Your body needs adequate calcium, however, so you don't want to cut back on calcium; in fact, some studies show that kidney stone sufferers frequently have low calcium levels. Instead, watch your oxalate intake.
Kidney stones have plagued humankind throughout history; in fact, scientists found signs of a kidney stone in a 7,000-year-old Egyptian mummy. However, with a careful diet, you can prevent kidney stones from being a part of your personal history.
This article is presented by Perkins Motors in Colorado Springs, Colorado