Dr Palaniappan Sundaram, Associate Consultant, Dept of Urology, SGH, shared four ways we can prevent kidney stones from developing. These are: drinking sufficient water, avoid oxalate-rich foods, eat less salt, and consume adequate calcium.
One in 10 people will develop
kidney stones at some stage of their
lives. These form when mineral
deposits in the urine turn into hard
crystals in the kidneys.
Most stones are small enough to
be passed out spontaneously in the
urine, though this may take up to
Large stones can block urine flow
and result in abdominal pain.
Dr Palaniappan Sundaram, an
associate consultant at the urology
department at Singapore General
Hospital, said kidney stones usually
develop in patients between the
ages of 30and 60.
And if you have had a kidney
stone, there is a 50 per cent chance
of another appearing in the next
five to 10 years, he said.
Prevention is therefore crucial.
Here are four ways you can prevent
1. Drink sufficient water
Dehydration plays a very important
role in kidney stone formation.
While there is no particular time
frame for kidney stones to form,
your risk goes up if you are dehydrated,
as the concentration of
stone-forming minerals in the
urine will be higher.
Drink about 21/2 to 3 litres of
water per day, or about 12 cups.
2. Avoid oxalate-rich foods
Oxalate is present in fruit and
vegetables. However, oxalate-rich
foods like spinach, chocolate, nuts,
tea, soya products and berries can
contribute to high levels of urinary
oxalate, a stone-forming mineral.
Oxalate in the diet is absorbed in
the intestine and excreted through
Patients who have a high risk of
forming calcium oxalate stones
should take less oxalate-rich foods.
About 80 per cent of kidney stones
aremadeup of calcium oxalate.
As it is difficult to avoid these
foods, patients can take calcium
together with oxalate-rich foods
during a meal. This would allow the
calcium to bind to the oxalate so
that the oxalate can be excreted.
Calcium-rich foods include kale,
sardines and yogurt.
3. Eat less salt
A reduction in dietary salt is essential
to lower urinary calcium levels.
And eating less animal protein
increases urinary citrate, which
prevents stone formation.
Your salt intake should be less
than 3g to 5g per day.
The recommended daily limit is
5g per day, which will help reduce
urinary calcium levels.
4.Consume adequate calcium
It is a myth that reducing your
calcium intake will decrease your
risk of urinary stones. This is detrimental
because a lower calcium
intake will increase oxalate absorption
from the gut and, consequently,
increase your urinary oxalate level.
The recommended daily calcium
intake is 1g to 1.2g per day.
Calcium supplements are not
recommended if you want to
reduce your risk of kidney stones.
Instead, consume calcium-rich
diary products that will provide you
with your normal daily calcium