16 July 2008

Global Warming and Kidney Stones

Focusing on existing evidence that strongly supports a positive correlation between temperature and kidney stone risk, researchers from Texas in the US have come up with an "unanticipated result of global warming."
If global warming trends continue as projected by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 2007, the United States can expect as much as a 30 percent growth in kidney stone disease in some of its driest areas, said the findings published in Monday's Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The increased incidence of disease would represent between 1.6 million and 2.2 million cases by 2050, costing the US economy as much as one billion dollars in treatment costs.

"This study is one of the first examples of global warming causing a direct medical consequence for humans," said Margaret Pearle, professor of urology at University of Texas Southwestern and senior author of the paper.
[AFP, 14 July 2008]

You can read the full study here.

The theory is that with warmer temperatures, there would be more fluid loss. More fluid loss may mean an increased risk for kidney stones.

The researchers have also identified so-called "kidney stone belts," located in the southern portions of the U.S., Europe, and Asia. They predicted that the prevalence of kidney stones will expand the kidney stone belts north- and westward in response to global warming. More kidney stones also means increased health costs and possibly lost manpower.

I see only one solution, even in the face of warmer temperatures: replace fluid loss. Drink water regularly. Drink water when you feel thirsty. Yes, it's that simple. I've always believed in prevention. Cure is helpful, but it comes later with harm already done. Why cure when you can prevent? Drinking water regularly is a matter of habit. Develop the habit and lessen future problems.
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