Risk Factors For Kidney Stone Formation

Are You at Risk for Kidney Stones if You Life in New York City?

by Alex Shteynshlyuger MD

If you have any questions, to schedule a consultation or if you need a second opinion, please contact us or call: 646-663-4421

Who Suffers from Kidney Stones? How Common are Kidney Stones?

Kidney Stone PainKidney stones are made of sand-like substances such as calcium oxalate or uric acid in the urine that bind together to form large kidney stones.

Kidney stones can give rise to symptoms such as pain in the back, on the right or left side, or lower abdomen and bloody urine.

Anyone can get a kidney stone, but certain factors increase a person’s risk of developing stone disease. Kidney stones in children are not very common but do occur.

The risk factors include age, gender, ethnicity, genetics, and diet and lifestyle.

Predisposing Factors for Kidney Stone Formation Include:

  • Dehydration
  • Geographical location (dry arid climate) with frequent and/or intense exercise
  • Structural abnormalities (uretero-pelvic junction obstruction, urinary diversion surgery, horseshoe kidney, calyceal diverticulum)
  • Underlying metabolic conditions (e.g., cystinuria, oxaluria, gout)
  • Certain drugs such as protease inhibitors, antibiotics, and some diuretics, increase the risk of some types of kidney stones
  • Urease-producing infective organisms (Klebsiella and Proteus species)
  • Obesity increases the risk of kidney stones and the incidence of obesity-induced renal stones increases with body mass index.
  • A diet rich in salt, animal protein, oxalates, refined sugars and soft drinks.

Want to Lower Your Kidney Stone Risk? Move to Alaska.

Where you live is an important determinant of your risk for kidney stones.  The hotter the climate the higher the risk of kidney stone formation. States such as Georgia, Florida and Texas are called “Stone Belt” because the risk of kidney stones are highest in the US.   Dehydration plays a large role in kidney stone risk.

Lifeguards who work in the summer on beaches are at higher risk likely due to dehydration.

Men vs Women

The prevalence of kidney stones is higher in men compared to women. Men between the ages of 30 and 50 are at highest risk but men younger or older than this age can also get kidney stones.  Postmenopausal women are at greater risk because of the low levels of estrogen hormone in their bodies.

Genetics: Family History of Kidney Stones is a Risk Factor

Stone disease tends to run in families, and a person’s likelihood of developing kidney stones is higher if someone in their family has had them.  The risk is highest if a first-degree relative such as brother, sister, mother or father or child had kidney stones.  If a person has had kidney stones before, their chances of getting them again are more.

Stone disease is more common in obese people compared to people with a normal body weight. Diabetes and obesity have been strongly linked to kidney stone formation by many different research studies. Not drinking enough water or eating a diet rich in proteins, sodium, calcium, or oxalate increases a person’s risk of kidney stone disease.

It has also been noted that people from a lower socioeconomic class in society have a greater propensity to develop kidney stones.  This may be related to lifestyle and dietary factors.

1 in 10 People Will Have a Kidney Stones During their Lifetime.

Statistical analysis has shown that kidney stones affect approximately 1 in every 11 individuals in the United States. In high-risk populations, the incidence can be 1 in every 5 persons. The overall prevalence of kidney stone disease is approximately 10% in men and approximately 7% in women. Every individual has a 10% lifetime risk of suffering from kidney stones at some point in their life. Studies indicate that the incidence of kidney stones has been increasing over the past few decades, mainly because of changing lifestyle and diet factors.

If you have any questions, to schedule a consultation or if you need a second opinion, please contact us or call: 646-663-4421

Dr. Alex Shteynshlyuger  is a board certified urologist in NYC who specializes in treating men and women with kidney stones and ureteral stones.

We see patients from all parts of New York City (Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx, Staten Island), Long Island, Westchester and New Jersey as well as other parts of the USA. We also see international patients from Canada, Japan, South America, Russia, Asia, Europe, Middle East, Africa, the Caribbean and other parts of the world.


Leave a Reply