Summertime Is High Time for Kidney Stones

Protect yourself by drinking lots of water, experts say

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THURSDAY, July 27, 2006 (HealthDay News) -- What do picnics, baseball and kidney stones have in common? They're all much more common in summer, experts say.

Kidney stones are more prevalent in summer because they're linked to water consumption, and many people don't drink enough water to compensate for hotter temperatures, says Dr. Andrew Sambell, a Baylor Medical Center urologist.

He offers the following tips for reducing the risk of kidney stones:

  • Drink at least four to eight glasses of water a day and double that amount in hot weather.
  • Reduce your meat intake. A diet high in animal protein increases the risk of kidney stones. Sambell recommends eating a vegetarian diet two days a week or cutting your meat intake by 30 percent.
  • Cut back on the salt. Most of the salt in our diets comes from prepared foods, not from salt we add at the table, Sambell said. If you're eating fast food more than twice a week, you're getting a lot of salt in your diet.
  • Lower your intake of caffeine, which is a diuretic that can leave you dehydrated. Try to switch to decaffeinated beverages.
  • Put slices of fresh lemon in your water or tea. Lemons are high in citrate, which helps to inhibit kidney stones.

While these steps can help reduce your risk of kidney stones, there are some uncontrollable factors that increase risk. These include: recurrent urinary tract infections; certain medical conditions; and a family history. People with recurrent kidney stones should talk to their doctor, Sambell said.

More information

The American Medical Association has more about kidney stones.

SOURCE: Baylor Health Care System, news release, July 12, 2006

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