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Diet and Exercise Linked to Kidney Stones

Update Date: Dec 12, 2013 06:31 PM EST
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Kidney stones, medically known as renal lithiasis, are tiny and hard deposits that form inside the kidneys. The deposits are made from mineral and acid salts and must be passed through the urinary tract, which can be an extremely painful experience. In a new study, researchers examined potential factors that could reduce the likelihood of developing kidney stones. The researchers found that even a little bit of exercise could reduce one's risk of getting kidney stones.

For this study, the research team headed by Mathew Sorensen, MD from the University of Washington School of Medicine and the Puget Sound Department of Veterans Affairs, examined the data on 84,225 postmenopausal women. The women were participating in the Women's Health Initiative, which is a study that has been collecting information on women's dietary intake and exercise level since the 1990s. Based from the data, the researchers calculated that physical activity was linked to an up to 31 percent reduction in the risk of getting kidney stones.

"Even small amounts of exercise may decrease the risk of kidney stones-it does not need to be marathons, as the intensity of the exercise does not seem to matter," said Dr. Sorensen. "Being aware of calorie intake, watching their weight, and making efforts to exercise are important factors for improving the health of our patients overall, and as it relates to kidney stones.

Sorensen explained that women could get exercise from brisk walking, moderate jogging or even a few hours of gardening in order to lower their risk of getting kidney stones. Furthermore, the researchers found that consuming over 2,200 calories per day could increased kidney stones risk by up to 42 percent. The researchers stressed the importance of having a healthy diet along with a good exercise regime not just to lower one's risk of kidney stones, but also to improve one's overall quality of life.

The study was published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (JASN).

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