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Climate change linked to kidney stones

By Staff (The Boston Globe) - July 14, 2014

Extreme heat or cold weather can lead to a higher risk for kidney stones, according to a study that, its authors wrote, suggests that climate change might be contributing to the condition.

Researchers at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia looked at medical records of more than 64,000 adults and children who developed kidney stones between 2005 and 2011 in five large cities, along with temperature data.

More cases of kidney stones were found in the 20 days after average daily temperatures reached above 50 degrees Fahrenheit in Atlanta, Philadelphia, Chicago, and Dallas. The largest spike occurred within three days of the hottest days recorded. No link between warm weather and kidney stones was found in Los Angeles, however.

After low outdoor temperatures, the risk of kidney stones rose for people living in Atlanta, Chicago, and Philadelphia.

Hot weather can cause dehydration and the formation of calcium and other minerals in the urine, which leads to the development of kidney stones, the researchers wrote. Cold weather may lead people to stay indoors, eat more, and exercise less, which can contribute to stones.