May 25, 2009

Kidney stones being seen in children

A U.S. urologist reports seeing an increase in young children with kidney stones -- something more often seen in middle-aged men.

Dr. Gary Faerber of the University of Michigan Health System in Ann Arbor says modern diet and lifestyle are probably at fault.

I am seeing more and more children who have kidney stones, Faerber says in a statement. It's a real phenomenon.

Family history of kidney stones is a significant risk factor, but Faerber says consuming sugar-filled drinks and fast-food high in sodium may play a role. Sodium is a known risk factor in the formation of kidney stones, he says.

The sedentary lifestyle we're starting to see in the younger age group and the pediatric group is also a risk factor because we know that obesity increases the risk of forming kidney stones, he adds.

A diet high in oxalates can also play a role. Oxalates are found in leafy greens, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, chocolate, peanut butter and nuts.

However the most common reason people have kidney stones, says Faerber, is that the urine becomes super saturated and it doesn't take much for a small crystal to form. This is why it's really important for kidney stone patients to keep their urine really diluted by drinking lots of water, Faerber says.