Forget about the Stone Age - living in Florida means living in the Stone Belt.
“Because we’re in the south, because of dehydration, because of diet, stones are very common thing we see,” says Dr. Blake Evans, a urologist on the medical staff of Lee Memorial Health System.
Stones - as in kidney stones. The Kidney Stone Belt refers to the southern U.S. where much of the year people are dealing with scorching temperatures.
As the mercury rises, we sweat more and the body's fluids become concentrated with minerals, such as calcium. This increases the risk that the minerals will concentrate into stones. So as temperatures rise, so do cases of kidney stones.
“The most common cause factor of stones is dehydration. There are other issues that are more specific to each person and how they process minerals in the blood, but dehydration is the number one factor,” says Dr. Evans.
So when things start to heat up, it’s important to drink up. Doctors recommend at least two liters, that’s 8 cups of non-caffeinated liquid, each day. Water it best. The typical American diet can increase risk too, especially in warm climates.
“A high salt diet as well as a high animal protein diet can also lead to stones; propensity to form stones,” Dr. Evans says. “So we commonly will recommend drink plenty of water, low salt diet, low animal protein to anyone who comes in with first episode of stones.”
More than 10 percent of Americans will develop a kidney stone. Forming a stone just once increases the risk of another by at least 50 percent. A stone becomes a problem when it moves through the system and blocks the flow of urine.
“A lot of females that have had kids have told me that their episode of having a stone try to pass - by far the worst pain in their life - including giving birth.”
Making it something worth preventing.