Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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Climatic Kidney Stones
17 July 2014

Climatic Kidney Stones

This is not a bouquet of flowers or a strange succulent plant. It’s a kidney stone, pictured using a scanning electron microscope. A new study has revealed an unexpected consequence of global warming: an increase in kidney stones. Researchers found a link between hot days and kidney stones in 60,000 patients from all over the United States. Kidney stones are usually formed when waste products in the blood, such as calcium, ammonia and uric acid, form crystals inside the kidneys. These hard stones can cause severe pain, particularly as they pass down the urinary tract. The number of people suffering from kidney stones, especially children, has soared over the past three decades. Part of this rise may be brought on by higher temperatures, which contribute to dehydration, leading to a higher concentration of minerals in urine that promote the growth of kidney stones.

Written by Nick Kennedy

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