Renal (kidney) stones are tiny, pebble-like deposits that can form in one or both kidneys. As their name suggests, they are a common medical condition. Hard minerals and other elements present in urine make up these “pebbles.”
They come in a variety of sizes and forms, and in order to be eliminated, they must go through the ducts that transfer urine from the kidneys to the bladder. It comes as no surprise that the agony of passing a stone increases with size.
The type of substance used to make kidney stones determines how to classify them:
- About 75 percent of kidney stones consist mostly of calcium.
- Renal stones can also be made up of uric acid (which is a normal by-product of a healthy renal system).
- They can consist of cystine, which is a protein building block.
- They can be formed from a phosphate mineral called struvite.
When the body cannot dissolve all of the minerals present in urine, kidney stones develop.
What Causes Kidney Stones?
In the simplest terms possible, not enough water in the body plays a major role in the development of kidney stones. Dehydration causes a person’s urine to contain less water, which facilitates the formation of kidney stones by allowing minerals, proteins, and other substances to combine more readily.
Undoubtedly, a person’s lifestyle might contribute to this ailment by increasing their susceptibility. For instance, a diet rich in sodium- and animal protein-rich meals can promote the development of kidney stones.
Diabetes and obesity are risk factors as well, and some drugs, such as diuretics, may increase total risk.
Genetics can also play a role.
Are Kidney Stones Hereditary?
The short answer is, yes. In general, individuals who have close relatives that have had kidney stones are more vulnerable to this condition themselves.
Indeed, is the quick response? Generally speaking, people who have close relatives who have kidney stones are more susceptible to developing this problem themselves.
Why is this? Variations in a gene called claudin-14 have been linked to an overall increased risk of getting kidney stones. Other genes can play a role as well.
Why is it the case? There is a generalised higher risk of kidney stones associated with variations in the claudin-14 gene. Moreover, other genes might be involved.
For example, mutations in genes that play a heavy role in transmitting chemical signals from outside to inside cells or that are responsible for transporting materials within cells can up a person’s risk factor for getting kidney stones. These mutations can alter the level of calcium and other materials in urine, creating an imbalance that can lead to kidney stones.
For instance, mutations in genes that are critical for transferring chemical signals from outside to within cells or for carrying materials inside cells can increase a person’s risk for developing kidney stones. The level of calcium and other substances in urine may change as a result of these changes, resulting in an imbalance that may cause kidney stones.
Talk With Your Doctor
Each patient has a unique risk of developing kidney stones, and your doctor can help you understand your risk factors and the preventive treatments that can lessen your risk.
The doctors and staff at Norman Urology are experts in treating diseases of the male and female urinary tract, including kidney stones, so contact them if you’ve ever had kidney stones or are worried you could be genetically predisposed to them.
We provide a variety of methods to assist in the diagnosis and treatment of kidney stones, such as extracorporeal shockwave therapies, which use ultrasonic waves to fragment kidney stones.
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