Kidney Stones

Kidney Stones are hard crystalline mineral material formed in the kidney or urinary tract. Urine has various wastes dissolved in it. When there is too much waste in too little liquid, crystals begin to form. The crystals attract other elements and join together to form a solid that will get larger unless it is passed out of the body with the urine. In most people, having enough liquid washes them out or other chemicals in urine stop a stone from forming. The stone-forming chemicals are calcium, oxalate, urate, cystine, xanthine, and phosphate.

Anybody can get kidney stones. Each year, more than half a million people go to emergency rooms for kidney stone problems. It is estimated that one in ten people will have a kidney stone at some time in their lives. Kidney stones can be found in children as young as 5.

The history of urinary stones almost begins with the history of civilization. The roots of modern science and philosophy go back to the Ancient Egyptians, in whom we see the first signs of social and scientific developments. In 1901, the English archeologist E. Smith found a bladder stone from a 4500–5000-year-old mummy in El Amrah, Egypt. Treatments for stones were mentioned in ancient Egyptian medical writings from 1500 BC.

Some kidney stones are as small as a grain of sand. Others are as large as a pebble. A few are as large as a golf ball. The larger the stone, the more noticeable are the symptoms. To treat it you may be asked to drink a lot of water. Doctors try to let the stone pass without surgery. You may also get medication to help make your urine less acid. But if it is too large, or if it blocks the flow of urine, or if there is a sign of infection, it is removed with surgery.

Kidney stones can also affect animals such as monkeys, cats, cattle and pigs. The majority of kidney stones occurring in animals are due to the same factors also seen in humans, including issues with dietary intake, inborn metabolic disorders, poor drainage, and urinary tract infections.

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