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Medical Edge: Kids and kidney stones
CINCINNATI (Liz Bonis) -- An alarming trend bringing kids into the emergency room has led to the launch of the Comprehensive Stone Center for Treatment at Cincinnati Children's Hospital.
When you talk with 8-year-old Autumn, she tells you it's been a tough year due to repeat kidney stones. "It's like you are hungry, but then it gets into belly pain."
She's not the only one. In just the last year more than 625 kids were seen with kidney stones. "That is close to double what we saw five years ago, and triple what we saw ten years ago," says Dr. Prasad Devarajan.
For Autumn's mom Christina, it's tough to watch. "You feel helpless, you can't do anything to help her pain."
What they've also discovered about this epidemic as it's being called is that kidney stones tend to reoccur and it takes a treatment team to cure it .
So the team here has launched what's called the Comprehensive Stone Center. It brings together pediatric neprhologists to find the underlying cause of kidney stones. Usually, it's the accumulation of calcium that can't pass through the kidneys due to not enough exercise, not enough water, and too much salt. "When we ingest a lot of salt, the salt automatically gets excreted by the kidney, while the sodium goes through the kidney, it drags calcium and most kidney stones are formed from calcium."
It can also be an imbalance of things, which in Autumn's case is too much calcium and not enough citrate, "which is normally required to keep crystals from sticking with each other and getting bigger and forming stones."
She's had stents to enhance kidney flow and a procedure to shatter stones and now takes medicine which she says doesn't taste very good.
Doctors say more exercise, more water and less salt can help anyone, including adults, trying to reduce the odds of getting a kidney stone.