Why are some people so stony
Kidney stones and ureteral stones
arise when certain substances in the urine combine to form crystals. Often these are calcium-containing salts, but it can also be uric acid and other minerals:
- 80% of people with kidney stones have calcium stones,
- 5 to 10% uric acid stones and
- 10% stones from the mineral struvite.
Stones made up of other materials are rare.
Usually these substances are dissolved in the urine. With some diseases it can happen that their concentration in the urine rises and crystals form: For example, if the parathyroid glands are overactive, the calcium level in the urine rises, and in gout, the uric acid level rises. The excess is seldom genetically determined, for example in stones made from the amino acid cystine.
Diet can also play a role: for example, some foods like rhubarb are high in oxalic acid; Offal can increase uric acid levels. This can encourage stone formation. In addition, the concentration of stone-forming substances in the urine increases if you drink too little.
Another cause may be that there are not enough substances in the urine that normally protect against stone formation. This includes above all the so-called citrate. A citrate deficiency can result from chronic diarrhea, for example.
In addition to the ratio of stone-forming and stone-inhibiting urine components, the degree of acidity of the urine plays a role: Most types of stone are formed when the urine is too acidic. However, stones can also form when the urine loses acid and becomes alkaline - for example due to a urinary tract infection.
Certain drugs can also be beneficial - for example because they form crystals themselves in the urine or change the composition of the urine.
Some people are at increased risk due to anatomical features of the kidneys, such as kidney cysts or a horseshoe kidney. One speaks of a horseshoe kidney when the two kidneys have fused together at the lower ends.
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