Rising temperatures, climate change may lead to increased risk of kidney stones, doctor says - CBS Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – As the heat wave continues, doctors are warning people about a potential danger many aren’t aware of – kidney stones. Rising temperatures increase the risk of people developing kidney stones.

Already, more than a half million people end up in emergency departments every year because of painful kidney stones and doctors are expecting to see more

Even with the continued heat wave and temperatures in the 90s, the bikers and bladers are still out on Columbus Boulevard.

Among the potential medical issues related to hot weather is an increased risk for kidney stones

“On a scale from 1 to 10 probably a nine or 10, it’s bad,” Chase Carucci, a kidney stone patient, said. “It’s probably the worst pain you could ever have.”

Dr. Gregory Tasian, a urologist at CHOP, has been studying and treating kidney stones for years.

“We did discover that the risk of presenting with a stone after high heat days is greater in men than women,” Dr. Tasian said.

It’s estimated one in 10 people will have a kidney stone in their lives.

Doctors say the link to heat is related to people getting dehydrated.

“When that happens, your urine volume drops,” Dr. Tasian said. “As your urine volume drops, a lot of those minerals that are existing in the urine such as calcium and oxalate and phosphorus become more concentrated. So that when it becomes more concentrated, that urine becomes more supersaturated, meaning that a stone is more likely to form.”

He says kidney stones can be caused by a variety of issues, including genetics and they have become epidemic. He thinks the trend will continue because of the weather.

“Climate change is expected to cause catastrophic events in terms of extreme weather events and infectious disease with human health,” Dr. Tasian said. 

Towanna Atkinson, who has a history of kidney stones, is following the doctor’s advice to drink lots of water on these hot summer days.

“Two gallons in the course of a day. And I try get a little extra in there,” Atkinson said.

Doctors say drinking plenty of water is one of the best ways to prevent summertime kidney stones.

Also, once you have had a kidney stone, there’s a 50% chance of developing another one within the next five years.