‘Kidney-stone patients at higher risk during quarantine’

July 11, 2020

Islamabad : Individuals who have a history of kidney stones should be extra careful with the self-quarantined lifestyle, which reportedly causes more anxiety and depression. This, in turn, leads to...

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Islamabad : Individuals who have a history of kidney stones should be extra careful with the self-quarantined lifestyle, which reportedly causes more anxiety and depression. This, in turn, leads to reduction in exercise, more stress-eating, and increased stockpiling of food. Due to the Covid-19 stay-at-home orders, people purchase packaged and long-life food, rather than fresh food. This leads to weight gain, reduced intake of antioxidants, and increased salt consumption. However, it is not only food choices that are important to consider carefully; even some medicines can increase the risk for kidney stones. Appropriate lifestyle improvements and a few dietary changes can stop kidney stone formation.

Consultant Nutritionist and Head of Clinical Nutrition Department, Shifa International Hospital Dr. Rezzan shared this piece of advice while talking to this scribe here Thursday. Kidney stone disease happens when a solid piece of material (kidney stone) develops in the urinary tract. It is commonly understood to be one of the most painful medical conditions that anyone can suffer from.

“People who have or tend to form calcium oxalate kidney stones may benefit from a low-oxalate diet,” Dr. Rezzan stated. Oxalate is a natural substance found in the human body. It is also found in many plants such as leafy greens, vegetables, fruits, cocoa, nuts, and seeds. Cutting back on high-oxalate foods, avoiding large amounts of animal protein, reducing salt (sodium), and drinking plenty of water may help prevent kidney stones from forming, she shared.

Additionally, even a small amount of physical activity can lead to decreased risk of developing kidney stones and might promote stone passing. “Be physically active and frequently change position even while sleeping,” said Rezzan, who is also Islamabad Chapter In-charge of the Pakistan Nutrition and Dietetic Society. Accumulation of excess fat in body may increase one’s risk of developing kidney stones.

Calcium oxalate stones are the most common type of urinary stones in Pakistan. “To reduce the risk of forming calcium oxalate, you should increase fluid intake. Your goal should be 10-12 glasses a day; at least 5-6 glasses should be water. I would recommend the addition of some lime or lemon juice to your water,” the nutritionist stated. She also recommended less intake of high-oxalate foods. “If you wish to eat them, boil oxalate-rich vegetables in a pot with the lid open for about 6-10 minutes and then discard the water. Combine oxalate-rich food with calcium-rich food in your meal. For example, have low-fat cheese or yogurt with small amount of spinach or yogurt/milk with berries. Consume more citric acid, such as grapefruit, oranges, lemons, or limes,” she guided.

Limiting animal protein to 4-6 ounces a day, reducing the amount of salt in your diet and limiting the consumption of processed foods such as sausages, canned products, dry soup mixes, pickles, and various convenience mixes was also recommended.

“Even your choice of tea makes a difference,” Dr. Rezzan said, adding “You should not boil tea leaves. Instead, pour hot water over tea leaves and steam for 5-6 minutes. Try to keep a jug of water with added lemon juice next to your bed at night, and sip some whenever you wake up.”

Kidney stones are common and are on the rise. They can be very painful and can also cause complications like urinary tract infections and chronic kidney disease. Making simple changes to what you eat and drink can be an effective way to reduce or eliminate your risk for forming kidney stones even during lockdown, Dr. Rezzan concluded.



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