Kidney stones in childhood raise the risk of atherosclerosis – hardening of the arteries – as shown in a study published in The Journal of Pediatrics. A more profound understanding of the link between kidney stones and atherosclerosis in children can offer better prevention methods to reduce the risk of stroke, heart attack, and other vascular diseases.
Previously believed to be an isolated health condition, kidney stones are becoming increasingly common in children. Research has found a link between kidney stones and atherosclerosis in adults, but this is the first study to examine the link in children.
Lead author Kirsten Kusumi said, “If the processes of kidney stone formation and hardening of the arteries are somehow linked in adults, it makes sense that a similar link may exist in children, despite the fact that people don’t associate heart and vascular diseases with kids. We wanted to learn whether and why children who have kidney stones may already be showing damage to their arteries.”
The study used ultrasounds to compare and evaluate artery thickness in 15 children with kidney stones and 15 without. None of the children were diagnosed with conditions known to contribute to atherosclerosis, thus revealing the association between damage to the arteries and childhood kidney stones.
The researchers found significant increase in thickness in the right artery compared to the left, which could be a potential risk factor for cardiovascular complications among children with the kidney stones.
Dr. Kusumi added, “Our findings suggest that there is something going on in the body related to kidney stone formation that also impacts the health of children’s arteries. Now that we have a clear indication that the association between kidney stones and arterial thickening or hardening begins in childhood, we can take steps as clinicians to treat these vascular symptoms or implement preventive measures, such as exercise and diet programs.”
Dr. Kusumi concluded, “Our ultimate goal is to help practitioners identify and treat childhood kidney stones with improved accuracy and attention to a child’s overall health. Long term, we hope to improve these children’s cardiac morbidity and mortality as is done for other diseases such as diabetes and hypertension. If kidney stones are putting children at risk for serious cardiovascular problems as adults, we need to know sooner rather than later, so that we can intervene and make a difference in their future health.”
Kidney stones are described as an incredibly painful condition – some even say it is worse than childbirth! For that reason alone – aside from the other complications they can bring – it’s important to prevent kidney stones by following these tips:
Speak to your doctor about any concerns you may have regarding kidney stones and what you can do to lower your own risk.
Gallstones and kidney stones share a common risk connection as well as symptoms. A gallstone is a hard lump that forms in the bile duct or gallbladder. When bile contains too much cholesterol or bilirubin, then gallstones are formed. Kidney stones, on the other hand, form when there is insufficient fluid in the body, so mineral deposits form together to make stones. Continue reading…
Kidney stones are incredibly painful stones that form inside the kidneys. There are many reasons why a kidney stone would develop, such as lack of water, too much calcium build-up, and excess uric acid, which can occur from a high-protein diet. There are also other causes for kidney stones you may not be familiar with but you should know in order to prevent the excruciating pain. Continue reading…