The Rise in Kidney Stones

According to UCLA research, kidney stones now affect 1 in 11 Americans, which is more than diabetes, heart-disease, or stroke. This number has risen from 1 in 20 in 1994. This increased prevalence of kidney stones in Americans is just one surprising fact of many that have recently been studied in the past decades.

Though primarily afflicting men, there has been a steady increase in prominence in women and even children. Kidney stones currently affect about 19% of men and 9% of women around the world. Just in America, more than a million people suffer from kidney stones each year, and 500,000 people are rushed to the hospital nationwide each year due to large kidney stones. While it’s thought to be partially a result of the increase of obesity in America from 23% in 1994 to more than 35% in 2013, the reason isn’t completely known. It has also been argued that the increase in temperatures could be a factor, as the hot temperatures lead to dehydration which can factor into the creation of kidney stones. In an analysis of more than 150,000 people in South Carolina between 1997 and 2012, there was seen to be an increase of frequency of kidney stones by 16%. Surprisingly, the biggest increases were among women, children, and African Americans. Not to mention that there’s a 50% that another stone will occur within 5 years if the first stone isn’t treated.

Not only do these kidney stones cause horrible pain to those with them, but they also cause monetary loss from procedures to help patients. Overall, the total estimated annual expenditure for those who received a diagnosis of urolithiasis (kidney stones) was nearly $2.1 billion in America in 2000, which was a 50% increase since 1994.

While there are many different types of kidney stones, the most prominent kind is calcium oxalate stones, which consist of about 70% of cases. 

All this information goes to show that anyone who suffers from kidney stones isn’t alone, and that this is a subject of health that needs to be looked into more. With the rise of cases, there’s more urgency to reduce the cost and cases of kidney stones by finding some of the major factors of this rise in kidney stone cases and find a way to fix them. Such as raising awareness and encouraging people to stay hydrated in the hot temperatures, to keep in shape, and maintain a healthy diet.


 

1. Shmerling, Robert, Kidney stones are on the rise, February 12, 2016 - Retrieved from URL: http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/kidney-stones-are-on-the-rise-201602129133

2. Childers, Linda, Why Kidney Stones Are on the Rise, July 24, 2013. - Retrieved from URL: http://www.nextavenue.org/why-kidney-stones-are-rise/

3. Moyad, Mark, Calcium Oxalate Kidney Stones: Another Reason to Encourage Moderate Calcium Intakes and Other Dietary Changes, Complementary and Preventative Medicine, August 2003.

4. Margaret S. Pearle, Elizabeth A. Calhoun, Gary C. Curhan, Urologic Diseases In America Project: Urolithiasis, The Journal of Urology, March 2005.