Kidney Stones

Kidney stones are an accumulation of mineral salts that can lodge any where along the course of the urinary tract. The salts calcium, magnesium phosphorus, oxalic acid and uric acid which saturate the urine, crystallize and form stones which can be jagged or smooth.

Symptoms

Kidney stones can be one of the most painful of ailments. The pain radiates from the upper back to the lower abdomen and groin, causing excessive sweating, frequent urination, odorous and/or cloudy urine. Sometimes blood or pus appear in the urine and fever and chills occur.

Causes

Metabolism malfunction or depressed immunity are thought to be linked to kidney stone formation. Other risk factors include reduced urinary output, heredity, living in a tropical climate which ‘promotes dehydration and dietary habits.

Lifestyle Factors

By far the single most important factor is to increase water consumption. Water dilutes urine and helps prevent concentrations of the minerals and the salts that form stones. Cranberry juice helps to acidify the urine and lemon juice in warm water first thing in the morning is a good preventive. Foods rich in vitamin A ie. sweet potatoes, carrots, pumpkin, apricots, and alfalfa are beneficial to the urinary tract.

Remedies

Minimise consumption of animal protein.
Avoid salt or salt substitutes, carbonated soft drinks, black tea and alcohol. Avoid foods high in oxalic acid eg asparagus, celery eggs, vegetables of the cabbage family. Eg cabbage, broccoli etc

Important Notes

Studies conducted at Harvard University found that consuming dairy products may actually lower the risk of developing stones. They also found that calcium supplements raise the risk slightly unless taken with meals. While drinking grapefruit juice may increase the risk.

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