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The Answer Doc by Dr. Christopher Munger

Reduce chances of kidney stone formation

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    Last time we spoke about what kidney stones are, how they are diagnosed and how they are treated. Today’s article focuses on prevention.
    The most important way that someone can prevent kidney stones from occurring is to prevent them from forming.  This usually can be accomplished through diet modification.
    The following things have been proven to help reduce the likelihood of stone formation:
     1. Increase fluid intake. People with kidney stones need to drink about two liters of water per day.  If a person is already drinking this much, they need to add an additional four 8oz glasses of water a day. The goal of increased fluid intake is to prevent dehydration that can lead to greater concentration of salts in the urine that can then form stones.
     2. Decrease salt intake.  People with kidney stones should not consume more than 1,500 mg of salt per day. This includes salt from packaged food. So check labels.
     3. Decreased protein intake. The hard and fast rule is no more than 60 grams of protein a day. A good rule of thumb is no more than two servings of meat per day.  You will still get adequate protein for your muscles, but avoid the excess by-products of protein metabolism that can lead to stone formation.
     4. If your kidney stones are made of calcium, you can still eat dairy, but you need to limit this to no more than two servings of dairy per day.
     5. People with kidney stones should avoid foods high in oxalate, which is a component of many types of kidney stones. This includes avoiding spinach, rhubarb, peanuts, beans, tea, chocolate, and cola. This doesn’t mean that you can never sneak some chocolate or soda, but it needs to be few and far between.
     6. Avoid excess Vitamin C intake.  Lots of people believe in mega-doses of vitamin C, especially for colds. However, people with kidney stones should not take any more than 1,000 mg of vitamin C per day, closer to 500 mg is preferable.
    For some people, changing their diet is not enough and medication is needed to help prevent stones. The good news is that many of these medications are very well tolerated and cost very little. Any medication or supplement used to prevent kidney stones needs to be supervised by a doctor.

    Dr. Christopher Munger’s column appears every other Sunday. Dr. Munger is board certified in family practice. He is a member of the Family Health Care Center in Statesboro and admits patients to East Georgia Regional Medical Center. He is originally from California. He received his bachelors degree from UCLA, his medical degree from Columbia University in New York City and completed his training in family practice at the University Of Virginia. He lives in Statesboro with his wife and two dogs.
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