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Kidney Stones

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What are common causes of kidney stones?

The crystals that lead to kidney stones are likely to form when your urine contains a high concentration of certain substances — especially calcium, oxalate, uric acid and rarely, cysteine — or low levels of substances that help prevent crystal formation, such as citrate and magnesium. Crystals also may form if your urine becomes too concentrated or is too acidic or too alkaline. A number of factors can cause changes in your urine, including the effects of heredity, diet, drugs, climate, lifestyle factors and certain medical conditions.

What lifestyle changes can I make to help prevent kidney stone development?

For people with a history of kidney stones, doctors usually recommend passing at least 2 litres of urine a day. To do this, you'll need to drink about 14 cups of fluids every day — and even more if you live in a hot, dry climate. Although most liquids count, water is best. In addition, if you tend to form calcium stones — a combination of calcium and oxalate — your doctor may recommend restricting foods rich in oxalates. Some examples of these foods include beetroot, spinach, sweet potatoes, sesame seeds, almonds. Studies show that an overall diet low in salt and very low in animal protein can greatly reduce your chance of developing kidney stones.

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