World Kidney Day: Emergency Hospital Admissions For Kidney Stones Soar By 115% In 10 Years

Emergency Hospital Admissions For Kidney Stones Have More Than Doubled In A Decade

The number of emergency admissions for kidney stones has increased by 115% over the last 10 years, figures show.

This has resulted in more than 1,000 kidney stone-related admissions per month to hospitals in England.

The figures, which have been released to coincide with World Kidney Day on 10 March, revealed that almost two thirds of kidney stone cases affected men.

In the last 10 years, emergency hospital admissions for kidney stones have risen by 115% cent from 5,842 cases in 2004-05 to 12,572 cases in 2014-15.

According to an analysis of the latest Health and Social Care Information Centre data, there was also a considerable increase in primary admissions to hospital for calculus of the kidney and ureter - the medical term for kidney stones - from 26,210 in 2004-05 to 47,990 in 2014-15.

Research suggests that men are more prone to the painful condition and are most at risk between the ages of 40 and 70 years old.

There are several factors which can contribute to kidney stone formation and dehydration is one of them.

Dehydration, especially chronic dehydration, results in the production of urine that has a higher concentration of minerals and waste.

This can lead to the formation of crystals that can affect kidney function and contribute to certain kidney diseases.

Kidney stones

Professor Tom Sanders, adviser to the Natural Hydration Council and professor of Nutrition and Dietetics at Kings College London, said: "The increased prevalence of obesity probably explains why kidney stones and chronic kidney disease are increasing.

"The best dietary advice available to prevent these conditions is to maintain a healthy weight, avoid adding salt to food, eat five portions of fruit and vegetables a day and choose water as your first choice beverage.

"People who have adequate fluid intake could be up to 30% less likely to suffer from the condition, and water is one of the healthiest choices when it comes to maintaining kidney health, as it has no sugar or calories.

"Yet two thirds of the population report drinking no more than one glass of water a day."

He added: "The kidneys act as a purification system for the blood, filtering out and excreting excess salt as well as waste products such as urea and uric acid derived from the breakdown of protein rich foods.

"If urine is too concentrated, the solutes precipitate out causing stones. Drinking plenty of fluids reduces the risk of this happening and this is why it is sensible to drink plenty of water throughout the day."

Dr John Sayer, senior clinical lecturer at Newcastle University and consultant at Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Trust, said: "Kidney stones often present with pain. Typically this is a persistent ache in the lower back, but it may go down to the groin.

"If a stone is moving you may have periods of very intense pain. The pain is associated with restlessness and nausea. There may also be an increased frequency of passing urine, it may also be painful to urinate and there may sometimes be blood in the urine.

"A kidney stone can sometimes lead to a urinary tract infection with fevers and chills and offensive urine."

To try and prevent kidney stones, you can do the following:

1. Drink plenty of water, the best way is to sip it little and often throughout the day.

2. Kidney stones are more likely to occur when the climate is hot and dry and fluid intake is insufficient. During warmer weather conditions or when exercising strenuously you may need to drink more water than normal, due to fluid losses through sweating. It's useful to keep a bottle of water handy when you are on the move or exercising.

3. Track your urine colour – this should be straw-coloured or paler. If it is any darker than this, it is an indicator that you could be dehydrated.

For further advice on how to look after your kidneys, visit Kidney Research UK or check out the Hydration Council's tips for kidney health.