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Kidney stones and five tips to prevent them

Written by Diane Archer

The National Kidney Foundation estimates that one in ten people will develop a kidney stone sometime in their lives. Kidney stones are lumps that seem like stones in the kidneys, which can cause serious pain. Men are more prone to them than women, and they are most common among 30-60 year olds.

You can get kidney stones and not know it if they are small enough to pass out of you in your urine. Often, they are painful because they get stuck in the urinary system and block the tube connecting the kidney to the bladder or the tube urine passes through out of your body. Or, they can cause an infection.

Symptoms: You might feel an ache in your lower back, groin, or abdomen. You may also feel nauseous. Or, you may need to urinate often and feel pain when you do; there might also be blood in your urine.

Often the stones will pass out of you in your urine. But, you may need to take medications or have them broken up with X-rays or ultrasound in hospital or even taken out through surgery.

Most of us will never get kidney stones. But, if you do, you’re likely to get them again. To avoid them, drink a lot of water and eat a healthy diet. Here are five tips from the U.K’s national health service:

  1. Drink lots of water, especially if you sweat a lot. The best way to prevent kidney stones from developing is to make sure you drink a lot of water so that minerals that make kidney stones do not settle in the kidneys and urinary tract.
  2. Eat and drink foods with calcium and oxalate together. Oxalate-foods, such as nuts and fruits and chocolate are less likely to form kidney stones when you eat them with calcium-rich foods.
  3. Eat less food with sodium.
  4. Drink juices high in citrate, like lemons and limes and low in sugar.
  5. Eat a healthy diet, low in red meat and shellfish and high in vegetables, fruits and whole grains. This will prevent development of uric acid stones
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