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Study finds link between kidney stones and climate change

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By Rachel Schoutsen
Presenter, Beat the Traffic
@RachelBTT
Friday, July 18, 2014, 8:53 PM

A recent study conducted by doctors at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia found kidney stones are more common when temperatures are hot.

The study looked at 60, 000 people in Chicago, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Dallas and Philadelphia. Patients were monitored as temperatures rose above 10 degrees Celsius and here is what they found:

  • 47 per cent higher risk of kidney stone in Philadelphia
  • 38 per cent higher risk of kidney stone in Atlanta 
  • 37 per cent higher risk of kidney stone in Chicago and Dallas
  • 1​1 per cent high risk of kidney stone in Los Angeles ​

The Weather Network spoke with Naturopathic Dr. Justin Gallant of Hamilton, Ontario to find out why the link may be there.

"Dehydration is the number one cause of kidney stones, so I can see why hot temperatures can lead to their formation", says Dr. Gallant. 

"When we are outside for more than 30 minutes at a time our body produces more Vitamin D. Too much vitamin D upregulates calcium and excess calcium can contribute to stones." 

Dr. Gallant also mentioned that more alcohol is consumed in the warmer temperatures, and this further dehydrates the body.

As Canadians we can prevent kidney stones by keeping hydrated.


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Our climate is expected to steadily warm -- and this could mean that without proper prevention, the cases of kidney stones could continue to rise. 

The main symptoms of kidney stones are pain below the lower ribs in the back, blood in urine as well as nausea and vomiting. If you suspect you have kidney stones you should contact a medical professional immediately.

Dr. Gallant mentioned that passing a kidney stone has been compared to, and even deemed worse, than natural child birth!

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