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Georgians are at Increased Risk for Developing Kidney Stones, says Covington Physician

Covington, Ga. (December 1, 2017) – Kidney stones can develop in anyone; however, these painful stones are more prevalent in those who live in warm, wet climates like South Georgia. Gilbert Gonzalez, M.D, of Piedmont Physicians Urology in Covington, offers tips to prevent kidney stones.

“Kidney stones are hard mineral deposits that form inside your kidneys, and can be very painful,” Dr. Gonzalez said. “Living in the Southeast, we are slightly more susceptible to developing them because of the higher temperatures and humidity. While some people have a higher risk than others, diet and lifestyle changes can reduce that risk.”

  • Drink plenty of water. Sweating excessively can lead to kidney stones, especially if you are not drinking enough water. “The more you sweat, the more water you expel from your body and the less you urinate,” Dr. Gonzalez said. “This can give kidney stone minerals a place to settle in your body.” Drinking water helps you stay hydrated and prevents stones from developing.
  • Eat calcium-rich foods. Despite the name, too much calcium is not the cause of calcium oxalate kidney stones. Rather, it is just the opposite. A lack of calcium in the diet actually increases a person’s risk of developing kidney stones. Eating calcium-rich foods, such as milk and other dairy products, can help prevent them. “It’s important to get your calcium from foods, rather than supplements and to talk to a doctor about how much calcium you need,” Dr. Gonzalez said. “Eating calcium-rich foods isn’t a good idea for people with certain medical conditions, however, so it’s important to talk to a doctor before changing your diet.” 
  • Reduce sodium intake. Keeping an eye on how much salt you consume is an easy way to prevent kidney stones from developing. A high-sodium diet increases the risk of kidney stones because it increases the amount of calcium left in the urine. Reading the labels on foods can help reduce sodium intake, which not only can prevent kidney stones but is good for your heart as well.

“Approximately 12 percent of people in the U.S. will develop one or more kidney stones at some point in their lives,” Dr. Gonzalez, who has more than 28 years’ experience treating conditions like kidney stones, said. “Unfortunately, people who have had kidney stones are 50 percent more likely to develop another one in the future. Talk with a doctor about your risks, as there are medications that can help as well.”

For more information or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Gonzalez, visit piedmont.org.

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