Anyone who has ever experienced the knife-like pain of passing a kidney stone vows to do everything to keep their kidneys free of stones in the future. Those lucky enough to have never had a stone, listen up, because these tips may save you from a whole world of hurt.
Whichever column you fit in to, it can’t “hurt” to do a quick review, or learn for the first time, how to avoid kidney stones.
Some Sad Facts About Kidney Stones
If you suffered with a bout of kidney stones, don’t think you are home free. Sadly, if you get them once, you are 50% more likely to get them again.
In fact, 10% of the population will get kidney stones in their lifetime.
Most surprising of all is that 15% of those who have had kidney stones never take their prescribed medications, and 41% never follow – or only follow the dietary and nutritional recommendations for a short time.
Best Ways To Avoid Kidney Stones
These are the best ways to avoid getting kidney stones for the first time, and to prevent having a repeat issue.
Drink Water, Water, and More Water
Staying hydrated is the single most important thing you can do to prevent kidney stones. It is commonly noted that eight glasses of water per day is best practice. Everything being relative of course, this can be off the mark and depends on the individual.
Those prone to stones probably need even more fluid each day. If it’s summer time, you need more hydration due to the heat and the amount of water we lose from sweating. Sweating causes less urine thereby allowing stone producing minerals to settle in the kidneys. Those that exercise frequently might need to drink more water all year.
A sure fire way to know if you are getting enough fluids to prevent stones is to look, yes, look, at your urine. It should be almost clear or very light yellow. If it is a darker color, you are dehydrated, so drink up.
It’s okay to include some fruit juice like orange juice and sugar-free or natural lemonade as part of your daily fluid intake along with unsweetened tea.
Reduce Your Salt Intake
This doesn’t just mean to take the salt shaker away, although that’s not a bad idea. Most people don’t realize how much sodium is in packaged foods, canned veggies and soups, crackers, and chips, Let’s not forget your favorite lunch meats, and everything that has sodium in the ingredients. Monosodium glutamate is a good example. All this extra salt can trigger stones.
Instead, substitute herbs and salt free seasonings.
Moderate Your Animal Protein
We all love a good steak but it’s full of uric acid and phosphates. High levels of uric acid can turn into stones. Mix it up with chicken and fish and maintain a heart healthy portion size.
Foods To Eliminate Or Reduce In Your Diet
There are a whole list of wonderful tasty foods which we all love, but if you want to keep your vow, it’s time to cut back.
They include: most cheeses, eggs, spinach, chocolate, beets, most nuts, coffee, rhubarb, and caffeine from colas and energy drinks.
Some Final Thoughts
There is no guarantee that following these tips will prevent a case of kidney stones, but it will aid in reducing the risks.
Contact Miguel A. Mercado, MD at (281) 351-5174 for additional recommendations to avoid kidney stones.