Why are there more kidney stones in the south?

In the United States, around 13% of men and about 6% of women deal with kidney stones. What a lot of people don’t know is that the risk of kidney stones is greater in the South than elsewhere in the United States. Why is this? 

The South is known for its delicious fried food, but the downside is that these foods are highly concentrated with salt. The tasty flavor may not seem like a downside at all, but it can have major implications for your health aside from just weight gain. The majority of people who eat this type of food and neglect to stay properly hydrated, and therefore they have a have metabolic predisposition to kidney stones.

So what exactly causes kidney stones? 

Urine contains dissolved minerals and salts. When your urine has high levels of these minerals and salts, the particles are likely to fuse together and form kidney stones.

Symptoms include:

  • Pain in the back, belly, or side

  • Pain/burning during urination

  • Constant urgent need to urinate

Here are some factors that affect your probability of developing kidney stones:

  1. Dehydration

    With warmer temperatures hitting the southern portion of the United States more often, not staying hydrated due to the hotter climate, could make a stone more common. Drinking too much sweet tea may cause kidney stones. Summer is the peak season for drinking sweet tea.

  2. Diet

    Foods with high salt contents are a staple of many popular southern-style restaurants, and too much salt in the diet is a risk factor for forming kidney stones. This is because too much salt is passing into the urine, keeping calcium from being reabsorbed from the urine and into the blood. Reducing salt in the diet lowers urine calcium, making it less likely for calcium stones to form. A diet high in animal protein, such as beef, fish, chicken and pork, can raise the acid levels in the body and in the urine. High acid levels can also make it easier for stones to form. Avoid stone-forming foods: Beets, chocolate, spinach, rhubarb, tea, and most nuts.

If you have questions or concerns about kidney stones, contact us today!