Kidney stone prevalence doubles in wake of obesity epidemic
The number of Americans suffering from kidney stones between 2007 and 2010 nearly doubled from 1994, according to a study by researchers at UCLA and the RAND Corp.
"While we expected the prevalence of kidney stones to increase, the size of the increase was surprising," said first author Charles D. Scales, Jr, MD, of UCLA. "Our findings also suggested that the increase is due, in large part, to the increase in obesity and diabetes among Americans."
The study, which was conducted as part of the Urologic Diseases in America project, was published in European Urology (2012; 62:160-5). It was also presented at the AUA annual meeting in Atlanta.
Dr. Scales and colleagues reviewed responses from 12,110 individuals and found that between 2007 and 2010, 8.8% of the U.S. population had a kidney stone, or one out of every 11 people. In 1994, the rate was one in 20.
While the national obesity rate was 23% in 1994, more than one-third of all American adults are obese today, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The authors assert that these findings have important implications for the public, as well as health care providers.
"People should consider the increased risk of kidney stones as another reason to maintain a healthy lifestyle and body weight," said senior author Christopher S. Saigal, MD, of UCLA. "But physicians need to rethink how to treat and, more importantly, prevent kidney stones."
The study was funded by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.