I was recently going through some emergency room statistics in America and something caught my eye. Over the past 5 or so years, there has been a disease which has seen an increase in the number of reported cases in emergency rooms across America. This is none other than the relatively unknown kidney stones. Kidney complications have been somewhat rare in the past but as the years are rolling on, seems these kidney complications and kidney stones to be a little specific are becoming more and more prevalent in America.
So, what are these kidney stones? What is the cause of the kidney stones? What are some of the signs and symptoms of kidney stones? When should you go to an emergency room because of kidney stones? How do emergency rooms treat the kidney stones? How can one stay clear of kidney stones?
Kidney stones and its causes
As we all know, the kidney is the body’s filter and it helps filter out unwanted substances and concentrations from blood. This is creates urine and other waste substances which would otherwise cause harm to the body. Kidney stones start developing in the body when there is a change in the concentration of salts and minerals in the body. The change in concentration of these minerals and salts is caused by dehydration and lack of enough water in the body. A kidney stone is a solid mass conglomeration of tiny crystals made up of minerals such as calcium, oxalate and uric acid. Besides lack of enough water, people who are overweight or obese are at a very big risk of suffering from these kidney stones because of the reduced metabolism in their bodies. Some forms of kidney stones are believed to be hereditary and can be passed down the family line.
What are some of the signs and symptoms of the kidney stones?
Kidney stones often don’t have signs and symptoms which we can say are identifiable right away. It the early stages of the disease, kidney stones are relatively painless but will have some sporadic jabs of pain which are intermittent. Once the stones accumulate and become big enough though, there is pain in the upper right abdomen accompanied by back pains. Others report cases of nausea and vomiting before the severe pain sets in. The pain results from the kidney stones becoming too large and beginning to scour the inside of the ureter. They stretch and irritate the inside of the ureter blocking proper passage of urine and this can be excruciatingly painful.
When should one go to the emergency room for kidney stones?
Well, you should always be on the lookout for the above mentioned signs and symptoms. Especially if you have been experiencing frequent pains in the abdomen area accompanied by severe back pains, then you need to visit the emergency room for proper diagnosis and treatment. Back pains and pains in the abdomen area are normally indicative of more than one disease and it can therefore be very difficult to tell what exactly is bothering you without proper diagnosing. Trying to live through the pain can be very dangerous. The bigger the stones get, the more dangerous they become. If you let the stones become too big, they will completely block the passage of urine causing intoxication by the chemical wastes contained in urine. This can be fatal. You therefore need to call the emergency room closest to you as soon as you feel pain in the back and abdomen area.
How are kidney stones diagnosed and treated?
Kidneys are diagnosed in emergency rooms using imaging tests such as CT scans and ultrasounds of the urinary tract and the kidneys of the patient. The physician is able to see the availability and size of kidney stones through the images on the monitor. Sometimes, the physician will need to take urine and blood samples to further ascertain the availability of the kidney stones. You medical record and history of kidney stones in your family also play a vital role in the diagnosis.
For treatment, the physicians aims at disintegrating the stones into small particles which can be passed out in urine. This can be achieved through extracorporeal shockwaves where waves are used to break the kidney stones into tiny bits which can be passed out through urine. Sometimes doctors offer simple medication and pain killers and soon the pain goes away on its own and the kidney stones disintegrate on their own.
How does one stay clear of kidney stones?
Well, if you haven’t suffered from kidney stones and want to stay clear of the menacing problem, then you will need to drink plenty of clean drinking water. Fresh water helps in balancing the concentration of the minerals and this is helpful during homeostasis as all the minerals are absorbed and reabsorbed back to the body or released in form of urine. If you are overweight, you need to cut down the weight as well to increase the metabolism in your body. This way, you will stay clear of the kidney stones and avoid unnecessary visits to the doctor.