You will be surprised to know that 200 million people worldwide suffer from chronic kidney disease (CKD), according to the World Health Organization (WHO). One of the most common forms of kidney disease is the formation of kidney stones, which is also known as nephrolithiasis.
The data suggests that the countries in West Asia, Southeast Asia, and South Asia regions are on the list of the most prevalent stone-forming belt. According to research, Asian Americans are more prone to kidney diseases due to dietary and lifestyle habits. In the context of India, the people in the Northern and Western parts of the country have a higher percentage of kidney stone disease as compared to South India. The states of Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana, and Bihar show a higher frequency of such cases.
What Are Kidney Stones?
Kidney stones are hard deposits made up of crystalline mineral material inside your kidney or urinary tract. There are five types of kidney stones:
- Calcium oxalate stones– the most common kidney stone, mostly caused by a diet high in protein, oxalate, sodium, and sugar
- Calcium phosphate stones– mainly caused by high sodium intake and animal protein.
- Struvite stones– also referred to as infection stones
- Uric acid stones– these are caused by severe dehydration due to diarrhea or malabsorption
- Cystine stones– caused by hereditary disorder cystinuria due to which kidneys excrete excessive amino acids
Signs and Symptoms of Kidney Stones
The most common signs and symptoms of kidney stones are:
- Blood in the urine
- Frequent urination
- Nausea and vomiting
- Pain in the back and lower abdomen
Role of Diet in Kidney Stone Formation
Like multiple other diseases, our diet contributes significantly to kidney stone formation as well. Particular food habits and intake of specific foods increase the chances of getting kidney stones. For example, calcium stones are the most common in all kidney diseases, and these are caused by consuming foods rich in calcium, oxalate, and phosphorous compounds.
The higher consumption of foods from animal products increases these compounds in the urinary tract, which turns into calcium oxalate and calcium phosphate crystals. Moreover, fast foods and processed foods with a high amount of salt also contribute significantly.
Our diet plays a pivotal role in preventing kidney stones and how a plant-based diet is the best source of keeping your kidneys and other vital organs healthy.