Kidney stones are increasing, particularly among adolescents, females and African-Americans in US, a new study has found.
Researchers analysed data from nearly 153,000 child and adult kidney stone patients from a total population of 4.6 million.
Overall, the annual incidence of kidney stones increased 16 per cent between 1997 and 2012. The greatest rates of increase were among adolescents (4.7 per cent per year), females (3 per cent per year), and African-Americans (2.9 per cent per year).
Between 1997 and 2012 the risk of kidney stones doubled during childhood for both boys and girls, while there was a 45 per cent increase in the lifetime risk for women.
The highest rate of increase in kidney stones was among adolescent females, and in any given year, stones were more common among females than males aged 10 to 24 years. After age 25, kidney stones became more common among men.
Among African-Americans, the incidence of kidney stone increased 15 per cent more than in whites within each five-year period covered by the study.
"The emergence of kidney stones in children is particularly worrisome, because there is limited evidence on how to best treat children for this condition," said Gregory E Tasian from The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP).
"The fact that stones were once rare and are now increasingly common could contribute to the inappropriate use of diagnostic tests such as CT scans for children with kidney stones, since health care providers historically have not been accustomed to evaluating and treating children with kidney stones," he added.
"These trends of increased frequency of kidney stones among adolescents, particularly females, are also concerning when you consider that kidney stones are associated with a higher risk of chronic kidney disease, cardiovascular and bone disease, particularly among young women," Tasian said.
Possible factors for the rise in kidney stones may include poor water intake and dietary habits, such as an increase in sodium and a decrease in calcium intake, researchers said. In addition, dehydration, which promotes the growth of kidney stones, is related to both poor water intake and higher temperatures, they said.
The findings were published in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.