What Protects the Heart May Also Ward Off Kidney
TUESDAY, May 17 (HealthDay News) -- The same lifestyle factors
that are linked to healthy hearts and bones can also keep painful
kidney stones at bay, a series of new studies suggests.
Researchers presenting data on Tuesday at the American
Urological Association's annual meeting in Washington, D.C.,
contended that aspects such as diet, weight, calorie and calcium
intake and medication usage can determine whether adults will
develop kidney stones.
While the biggest risk factor for kidney stones is dehydration,
according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health, this common
condition can also be hereditary or caused by many other
"Stone disease has been a problem since people have been around," said Dr. Marshall L. Stoller, who co-authored a study indicating women with higher calcium intakes were at reduced risk of the problem. "Only one disease is mentioned in the Hippocratic oath -- stone disease."
"Women should not lower their calcium intake in hopes of lowering their risk for calcium-based kidney stones," added Stoller, vice chair of the urology department at the University of California, San Francisco. "Those women who cut down their calcium increased their risk. It's sort of counterintuitive."
In addition to Stoller's study, other studies presented at the
- Reducing daily calorie intake may significantly lower the risk
for stone disease in overweight and obese people. Scientists from
the University of California, San Francisco used data on 78,551
participants from the Women's Health Initiative study to examine
diet, body mass index (BMI, a ratio of weight to height) and stone
- Meat-heavy diets may be linked to a higher risk of developing
kidney stones. Researchers from the University of Oxford, England,
studied 50,617 people, finding that fresh fruit, fiber and certain
minerals may reduce risk. No association was found with consumption
of vegetables, calcium or vitamin C.
- Higher levels of antioxidants in the body may lead to a lower
risk of stone formation. Researchers from the University of Iowa
found that alpha-carotene, beta-carotene and beta-cryptoxanthin --
antioxidants found in legumes, nuts and grains -- were linked with
lower numbers of kidney stones among 17,695 survey participants in
the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES
- Statins, typically used to treat high cholesterol and
triglyceride levels, were linked with a 50 percent reduction in
stone disease among men and a 70 percent reduction among women,
according to researchers. Scientists from the University of
California, San Francisco, analyzed 57,320 patient records from a
10-year review of the Armed Forces Health Longitudinal Technology
Application database, finding high cholesterol was linked with
kidney stone formation and statins greatly lowered the risk.
"This has never been demonstrated before -- it's completely novel," said Dr. Roger Sur, author of the statin study and now director of the Comprehensive Kidney Stone Center at the University of California, San Diego. "It's a retrospective study, and it needs more rigorous prospective data. But it's certainly exciting information we hope to take forward."
With the link between lifestyle factors, heart disease and
kidney stones so apparent, Stoller said, those who develop stones
might want to consider if they are developing heart disease as
"If you have a stone, it could be looked upon as a canary in a mine shaft. You could be at risk for heart disease," he said. "We give our patients with stones three global recommendations: lower their salt intake, lower animal protein intake and get adequate fluid intake. That is [also] a cardiac-healthy diet."
Dr. Michael A. Palese, an associate professor of urology at
Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City, said the new studies
add "ammunition" to advice he already gives his kidney stone
patients about how to avoid future episodes.
"These are little things we do over time to stack the deck in the patient's favor," said Palese, who was not involved in the research presented. "I think this is an interesting addition to what we already know."
The studies presented at the meeting demonstrated an association
with the assorted lifestyle factors and kidney stones, but did not
prove a cause-and-effect. And experts note that research presented
at medical meetings doesn't receive the same level of scrutiny
given to studies published in peer-reviewed journals.
For more on kidney stones, visit the
U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Kidney
Copyright © 2011
. All rights reserved.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.