Kidney stones can be formed due to a number of reasons. Though these are not the fixed causes, they can be the risk factors. Kidney stones are majorly classified into four types, more or less depending upon these causes. Or in other words, the type of kidney stone can decide what actually the cause behind it was in the first place. This can also help in deciding the course of the treatment, and also what precautions can be taken so that one can prevent the stones from developing in the future. In short, the type of the kidney stone can help in ascertaining the prognosis of the disease. It is helpful to save the kidney stone if possible, when you notice it to be passing in the urine. A pathologist can then examine it and determine the type and these findings can be helpful in the treatment of kidney stones.
What Are The Four Types Of Kidney Stones?
The four main types of kidney stones are – calcium stones, uric acid stones, cystine stones and struvite stones.
- Calcium Stones – These are the most frequently occurring ones. They are present usually as calcium oxalate crystals. Oxalate is a substance which naturally occurs in many fruits and vegetables in high proportions. Also, our liver makes oxalate daily. Some other foods like chocolate are also very high in oxalate. Certain medicines, like Vitamin D supplements can be a risk factor in causing kidney stones. Sometimes calcium stones may be found as calcium phosphate clusters. This may be due to certain metabolic disorders.
- Uric Acid Stones- Uric acid kidney stones are formed due to lack of fluids in the body. Hence, those who drink very less fluids or suffer from dehydration frequently can be very much susceptible to this type of stones. Also, those who eat a high protein diet or those having a high uric acid content (gout), are equally susceptible to this type.
- Cystine Stones- Too much amino acid in the urine is called cystinuria. This is generally a hereditary disorder, in which the kidneys excrete large quantities of amino acids in the urine. These people suffer from cystine kidney stones.
- Struvite Stones- If there is a urinary tract infection, Struvite stones may be formed as a response to that infection. These kidney stones generally will not give you much warning. Also, these can grow very rapidly and can cause severe pain when they do.
Apart from these reasons, a general reason that can lead you to kidney stones is suffering from obesity. Hence, it is advisable to stay in the recommended weight category for your age and height.
Diagnosis for Kidney Stones
Kidney stones, once suspected, are usually diagnosed with the help of one or many of the following procedures and tests. Urine test is done to see if there are too many substances in your urine that are responsible for causing stones. Or there may be a less amount of those substances which prevent the stones from forming. Multiple samples of urine may be required for this test to be confirmed. Blood tests are done to see if there are large quantities of uric acid or calcium in the blood. Also, many other medical conditions related to the kidneys can be diagnosed with the help of the blood tests. Imaging tests may be advised to see the location of the stones in the urinary tract. X-ray, ultrasound, CT scan etc. can be done to confirm the location. Also, if one can manage to save the stone that has been passed in the urine, the examination of that stone by a pathologist can also reveal the type of stones that one is suffering from.
Kidney stones vary in size from very tiny ones to very large ones. Depending upon the size of the stone, the type of the stone and the location of the stone in the urinary tract, the choice of treatment may vary.
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