Climate change will lead to more kidney stones (study)

By Daniel Otis

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TORONTO (CTV Network) – Rising temperatures due to climate change will lead to more cases of kidney stones, new study finds.

Dr Gregory Tasian is a pediatric urologist at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and lead author of the study, which was published Monday in the peer-reviewed journal Scientific Reports.

“While it is impossible to predict with certainty how future policies will slow or accelerate greenhouse gas emissions and anthropogenic climate change … our analysis suggests that global warming is likely to increase the burden of calculations. kidney health systems, ”said Dr. Tasian. in a press release.

Kidney stones are hard mineral deposits that can be very painful when passed through the urinary system. They can form for a variety of reasons, including diet, genetics, obesity, and taking certain medications and supplements. Heat also plays a role, according to the study.

“It is well established that high room temperatures increase the risk of developing kidney stone disease and presenting with acute and symptomatic stones,” the study explained. “One proposed mechanism is that higher evaporative water losses lead to more concentrated urine, creating an environment in which crystallization of calcium, oxalate, uric acid and phosphate is more likely.”

The study notes that kidney stones affect one in 11 Americans and that the number of cases has increased over the past two decades, especially among adolescents and women. The Kidney Foundation of Canada estimates that one in ten Canadians is affected.

To see how climate change might impact the prevalence of kidney stones, the researchers created a model based on South Carolina kidney stone cases and climate data from 1997 to 2014. This information was then used to create two forecasts: one based on aggressive greenhouse gas reductions. , and another based on unhindered broadcasts.

Their model found that by 2089, the incidence of kidney stones would increase by 2.2% in the first scenario and 3.9% in the second. In both cases, they predicted that between $ 57 million and $ 99 million would be spent treating other cases of kidney stones in South Carolina alone as the average global temperature rises.

The study is just the latest addition to a growing body of research on the many health effects of climate change, which are already documented in Canada. The World Health Organization calls climate change “the greatest health threat facing humanity”.

“With climate change, we don’t often talk about the impact on human health, especially when it comes to children, but global warming will have significant effects on human health,” said the Dr Tasian, who also teaches at the University of Pennsylvania. , noted. “As pediatric researchers, we have a duty to explore the burden of climate change on human health, because children today will experience this reality in the future. “

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