FRIDAY, May 25 (HealthDay News) -- The number of Americans suffering from kidney stones has almost doubled since 1994, researchers report, and the obesity epidemic is the most likely reason why.
About one in 11 Americans now develops kidney stones, according to scientists from the University of California, Los Angeles and RAND Corp. In contrast, only one in 20 Americans developed kidney stones back in 1994, they noted.
"Kidney stones are becoming a very common health condition in the United States," said lead researcher Dr. Charles Scales Jr., a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation/U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs clinical scholar in the David Geffen School of Medicine departments of urology and medicine at UCLA. They are more common than heart disease, stroke and diabetes, he added.
A kidney stone is like any small rock, Scales said. "It's an accumulation of crystals of substances that are dissolved in urine and for reasons that are not well understood, form rocks," he explained. Kidney stones are a condition that results from risks associated with diet and lifestyle.
"People with a history of kidney stones also are more likely to have histories of diabetes, obesity and gout," he said.
Usually, severe pain is the first sign of a stone, Scales said, and as many as 50 percent of people who develop a first kidney stone develop others.
"To prevent stones from forming, the most important things are diet and lifestyle interventions such as drinking plenty of fluids, eating a low animal-protein diet and having only a moderate amount of salt," Scales pointed out.
The finding was presented this week at the American Urological Association meeting in Atlanta and published in the July issue of the journal European Urology.
For the study, Scales' team used data from the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey to identify the rate of kidne
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