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General Health : Environment Last Updated: Apr 20, 2011 - 9:38:09 AM

Global warming may raise risk of kidney stones
By David Liu, Ph.D.
Jul 16, 2008 - 10:19:07 AM

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Kidney stone. Credit: Wikipedia
WEDNESDAY JULY 16, 2008 ( -- It seems we have not gotten enough problems with global warming.   A new study suggests that the global climate change that has led to Al Gore winning a Nobel Prize would expose more people in the United States to the risk of suffering kidney stones.

The study showed that as global warming continues, the U.S. kidney stone belt, the fraction of the U.S. population living in the high-risk zones for the condition, would slowly expand from 40% in 2000 to 56% by 2050 and to 70% by 2095.

The study was published online on July 14, 2008 in the prestigious scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Science of the United States of America.

The predictions, by Tom H. Brikowski at the University of Texas at Dallas and colleagues, were based on a climate model of intermediate severity warming.

The results also indicate a climate-related increase of 1.6-2.2 million lifetime cases of kidney stones by 2050, representing up to a 30% increase in some climate regions.

The researchers said the increase in the number of kidney stone cases   would lead to a 25% increase in medical expenditures or $0.9 to 1.3 billion each year.

They predicted that by 2050, most affected geographic band stretching from Kansas to Kentucky and Northern California, immediately south of the threshold isotherm.

Continued global warming has already been known to cause a number of adverse effects including coastal and river flooding, snow pack declines and reduced Summer River flows.

Kidney stones, also known as renal calculi, nephrolithiasis, and stones-kidney, form when the urine contains too much of certain substances.   Calcium oxalate forms the most common type of kidney stones accounting for 80% of all kidney stones.

A health observer affiliated with suggested that increased climate temperature would certainly be a potential factor that promotes the formation of kidney stones, but the condition can be easily prevented.

He said drinking more water would easily overcome the global warming effect.   In addition, because calcium oxalate crystal is formed when the urine pH falls below 6.0, increased intake of green vegetables and reduced intake of protein-rich meats would reduce the incidence of kidney stones regardless of the global warming status.

© 2004-2008 by unless otherwise specified

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