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Dealing with kidney stones in children

Kidney stones are common to adults who have sedentary life and unhealthy lifestyle habits. But, if you hear a child suffering from kidney stones, that would be an entirely different story.

Experts say that before, children are lesser prone to kidney stones because they are healthier and more physically active. But, over the years, there has been a constant increase in the number of children that are being affected by kidney stones. Maybe because more and more kids now are living sedentary lives by being in front of the computer or by eating foods that are high in protein, calcium, and sodium.

Kidney stones in kids

Studies show that majority of the children who are prone to developing kidney stones are those that suffer from underlying medical conditions which increases their risk of developing stones this early.

For parents to understand how to deal with kidney stones in case their kids suffer from it, they must first understand everything about the condition. Having a broad understanding of the condition can help parents trace possible causes, identify symptoms, and give immediate response to the child in pain.

Just like in adults, there are different types of stones, which can be developed in a child's system. This can either be "calcium oxalate" which is the most common and caused by too much presence of calcium in the urine, the "struvite stones," "uric acid stones," and "cystine stones." These types vary depending on the levels of the minerals found and their characteristics.

Parents would never know if their children are suffering from kidney stones if they are not familiar with its symptoms such as abdominal or back pain, blood in the urine or hematuria, vomiting or nausea, and the often need to urinate. In younger kids, these symptoms cannot easily be recognized that is why there is a need to undergo laboratory evaluation and tests.

Since kidney stones are not common among children, especially to younger ones, it is a must to identify the risk factors present such as:

v Possible history of the kidney stones which makes children more prone to the condition in the future. (Studies show that kids who have history of kidney stones are likely to suffer from the same problem in the next 10 to 20 years of his or her life.);

v Low fluid—especially water—intake because it affects the ideal amount of urine that should be released daily. (If there is lesser water or fluid intake, the chances of developing kidney stones are much higher because there will be more concentration of substances that leads to faster kidney stone formation.);

v Amount of diet, especially those high in animal protein such as beef, pork, lamb, or chicken are likely to develop kidney stones because they have higher concentration of protein which is one of the primary causes of kidney stones. (Experts say that children who consume too much protein are at risk in developing "calcium oxalate stones" along with problems in terms of intestinal absorption.);

v Having a ketogenic diet which involves a minimal amount of carbohydrates that directly affects the levels of mineral intake;

v Experiencing cystic fibrosis;

v Suffering from urinary tract abnormalities like dysfunction of the bladder or the kidneys;

v Some inherited disorders from the parents; and

v Undergoing medications such as "furosemide," "allopurinol," and "acetazolamide" which are known to promote formation of urine crystals that leads to the formation of kidney stones.

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