People love Top 10 lists, such as Billboard’s “Year-End Top 10 songs,” Listverse’s “10 Hilarious Historic Predictions of Life in the 2000s,” and Google’s top 10 searched-for health topics of 2019.
This year’s Google 10 included topics we’ve covered recently, from how to lower blood pressure (No. 1), to how to get rid of hiccups (No. 3), and what causes those hiccups in the first place (No. 5).
But No. 6 on the Google list — “What causes kidney stones?” — is a topic we haven’t addressed since 2016, and clearly it’s a medical problem that’s on people’s minds.
In fact, according to Cleveland Clinic urologist Dr. Sri Sivalingam, “With the declining health of the American public [epidemics of obesity and diabetes] … over the past five to 10 years, we’ve seen an increase in the prevalence of stones, with more rapid increases among women and kids.”
So in case you’re thinking of doing a Google search, here are the causes of kidney stones, and the steps you can take to avoid them:
• Obesity. The solution? Maintain a healthy weight to avoid body-wide inflammation and diabetes, which is strongly linked to kidney stone formation.
• Dehydration. The solution? The American Urological Association says that if you’re prone to or have had kidney stones, you should drink 84 ounces of water daily.
• Excess salt. Too much salt causes an increase in calcium in the urine, which can lead to stones. The solution? Avoid fast food and canned or ultra-processed foods.
• Added fructose (such as high fructose corn syrup). The solution? Ditch foods with added fructose, sugars, and syrups. For sweets, eat citrus fruits; they help prevent stone formation.