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Climate Change Will Lead to Rise in People Suffering From Kidney Stones: Study

Climate Change Will Lead to Rise in People Suffering From Kidney Stones: Study

The number of people seeking medical help for kidney stones increases following very hot days.

Cases of kidney stones can be contained if we are able to reduce the pace of global warming.

A rise in global temperature and consequent climate change patterns will increase the number of people dealing with kidney stones, according to researchers at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia in the United States. The research, published in Scientific Reports, says that along with unhealthy dietary and lifestyle habits, heat and dehydration also exacerbate the medical condition.

According to the study, the number of cases will increase between 2.2 percent and 3.9 percent in the near future if greenhouse gas emissions continue at the current rate. This will lead to a huge rise in health costs either way.

Gregory Tasian, senior author of the study and an attending paediatric urologist at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, said, “With climate change, we don’t often talk about the impact on human health, particularly when it comes to children, but a warming planet will have significant effects on human health.”

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Findings of the study

The research starts with explaining how kidney stones develop. It says kidney stones develop when deposits of certain minerals present in concentrated urine form tiny crystals. These crystals can vary in size from a grain of sand to even a golf ball.

Then the study points out that people sweat more when the temperature is higher and under such circumstances, their urine becomes more concentrated. While the smaller stones pass through the urinary tract without an issue, the larger ones cause intense pain as they move from the kidney to the bladder.

To back the conclusion, the study highlights that the number of people seeking medical help for kidney stones increases following very hot days when the risk of dehydration multiplies. The study also underlines that the cases of kidney stones have escalated over the past two decades, particularly among people of colour, women, and adolescents.

The study was conducted using related data from South Carolina, a state which reports a high number of urological disorders and kidney stone cases. The research adds that the cases of kidney stones can be contained if we are able to reduce the pace of global warming by cutting down greenhouse gas emissions.

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first published:January 15, 2022, 11:33 IST