Making about 3 million visits to doctors and healthcare providers each year, stones in the kidney are of the most painful of disorders in urology. This is not a problem that is new; in fact it was found that an Egyptian mummy around 7000 years old also had evidence of stones in the kidney. Causing enough issues to those that have them, kidney stones have people ending up in emergencies each year.
When they pass out of the human body without having the necessity for a physician to intervene, kidney stones most of the time do not cause problems. However, it is when they cause problems that last that they have to be treated using techniques of various types. Surgery is not involved in most of these.
Kidney stone – what is it?
In the urinary tract, when crystals separate from urine, they may develop into a mass that is hard. These hard crystal masses are kidney stones. Normally, there are chemicals within urine that work to prevent the formation of such crystal masses; however, these inhibitors likely may not work in some people. A combination of calcium with phosphate or oxalate, these stones are formed using the chemicals that the body gets from the diet of the person.
Kidney stones – who gets them?
In the United States, the number of people with stones in the kidney has been increasing over a period of the past 30 years and it has been observed that Caucasians have more of a tendency to getting stones in the kidney than African Americans. Also, men have more of a tendency to develop stones in the kidney and when they enter into the 40s, the problem rises dramatically and continues until they are in their 70s. In women, the problem peaks when they are in their 50s.
Kidney stones – what causes them?
Stones in the kidney may be caused by certain foods in those people that are susceptible. It is likely that stones will develop in a person if there is a history in the family. In addition, infections and disorders such as cystic kidney disease, hyperparathyroidism (a metabolic disorder), urinary tract infections as well as renal tubular acidosis which is a rare diseases that is hereditary are factors that cause people to develop stones in the kidney. Stones in the kidney are caused by hyperoxaluria and Cystinuria that are rare and inherited disorders of a metabolic nature – too much of amino acid is produced and when this does not dissolve in urine, it leads to stones made of cystine and the body producing too much of the oxalate salt causes hyperoxaluria.
About more than 50 percent of people with stones in the kidney may have the issue of Hypercalciuria. The excess of calcium that is absorbed into the urine, forms crustals of calcium phosphate or calcium oxalate either in the urinary tract or in the kidneys themselves. When urine that contains more oxalate than it can dissolve and stones are formed when crystals settle. Hypercalciuria can be inherited.
Hyperuricosuria is another disorder of the metabolism of uric acid and results when excessive Vitamin D is absorbed, infections or blockage of the urinary tract happen. Certain calcium-based antacids and diuretics (called water pills commonly) my cause the increase of calcium in the urine.
People who have chronic bowel inflammation or have been operated for intestinal bypass or ostomy surgery may have the formation of stones made of calcium oxalate. In people with infections of the urinary tract, struvite stones are a likely possibility. Taking indinavir (a protease inhibitor to treat infection due to HIV) may also put people at a risk for developing stones in the kidney.