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Kidney Stones on the Rise in Children

by The Kid's Doctor Staff

Kidney stones are on the rise in children and doctors are trying to determine why. Kidney stones used to be an adult problem, one that causes excruciating pain. But in recent years, kidney stones have been turning up in rising numbers at hospitals around the country.

At Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, the number of children treated for kidney stones since 2005 has gone from about 10 patients a year to five a week, said Dr. Pasquale Casale.

In a 2007 study in the Journal of Urology, doctors are North Shore-Long Island Jewish Medical Center reported a nearly fivefold increase in children brought in with kidney stones between 1994 and 2005.

Eating too much salt can result in excess calcium in the urine. Some doctors blame kids’ love of cheeseburgers, fries and other salty foods for the increased number of kidney stones.

In children, most stones are calcium-bases. Dr. Uri Alon, director of the bone and mineral disorders clinic at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City says that children’s eating habits, plus drinking too little water puts them at risk. Plenty of water is generally recommended to help prevent kidney stones. For an average-size-10-year-old about four cups of water a day on top of whatever else they are drinking is considered a good amount to dissolve the minerals in urine.

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