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More U.S. Kids Developing Kidney Stones

The likely cause: too little water, too much salt, experts say

THURSDAY, Dec. 28, 2006 (HealthDay News) -- Kidney stones are becoming increasingly common in children, according to pediatricians at Johns Hopkins Children's Center in Baltimore.

"More and more children with kidney stones are coming to us," said kidney specialist Dr. Alicia Neu, co-director of the kidney stone clinic at the Children's Center, in a prepared statement. "While this is somewhat unexpected, it is not totally surprising given that so many other conditions are on the rise in children due to poor diet, such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and obesity to name a few," she said.

Pediatricians believe that the main culprits of the increasing trend of kidney stones in children are probably too much salt and too little drinking water.

The best ways to prevent the most common types of kidney stones or slow their growth is to limit salt in the diet and drink plenty of water.

To reduce sodium intake, consume no more than 2.4 grams of sodium -- or 1 teaspoon of table salt -- per day. Also stay away from salty snacks, processed foods, and sodas, and rinse canned foods under running water to reduce their sodium content. Look for products that have labels that say "no salt added" or "low sodium."

Tea, coffee, dark chocolate, spinach, nuts and wheat bran can increase the risk of certain types of kidney stones.

Children should aim to drink at least two liters (64 ounces) of water per day. Sugar-laden juices and sodas are no substitute for water.

A child can tell if he or she is drinking enough water if there is an urge to urinate every three hours. Less frequent urination may be a sign of dehydration.

Intense pain in the lower back and/or in the sides, frequent and painful urination, blood in the urine, cloudy urine, and urinary tract infections accompanied by fever may be signs of kidney stones.

More information

The Nemours Foundation has more about children and kidney problems.

SOURCE: Johns Hopkins Medicine, news release, Dec. 19, 2006
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