Even though March is National Kidney Health Awareness month, we’re always glad to take time to observe that here at Dr. Eric Seaman’s urology practice in Millburn, New Jersey. Our attention is focused on your kidney health year-round.
Kidney stones are hard mineral deposits that form inside your kidneys and can eventually make their way down into other parts of your urinary system, including your ureters, bladder, and urethra. The severe pain often associated with kidney stones occurs when these small clumps of mineral deposits are forced through even smaller spaces through which your urine flows as it exits your body.
Dr. Seaman values the opportunity to provide effective treatment for kidney stones and the symptoms they cause. He’s also passionate about helping you prevent kidney stones from recurring or forming in the first place. Here are five practical steps you can take to help prevent kidney stones
1. Drink plenty of water every day.
One of the easiest ways to reduce your risks of developing kidney stones is to stay hydrated. If you don’t drink enough, the urine volume in your kidneys decreases and becomes more concentrated. Low fluid volume in your kidneys means the minerals that cause stones are less likely to dissolve.
Dr. Seaman recommends drinking about eight glasses of water a day, enough that your urine remains essentially clear to pale yellow in color rather than dark. You may need more water on days that you sweat heavily.
2. Avoid getting too much calcium by adding calcium-rich foods to your diet.
Although the most common type of kidney stone is formed from calcium oxalate, a diet that contains calcium-rich foods can decrease your risk of developing these stones. Regular use of calcium supplements, on the other hand, can increase your kidney stone risk because they make it easy to get too much calcium. Unless your doctor has prescribed calcium supplements, try adding low-fat dairy products, kale, broccoli, almonds, and other calcium-rich foods to your daily diet.
3. Cut the salt.
Eating less salt helps keep urinary calcium levels low. The lower the urine calcium, the lower your risk of forming calcium stones.
Foods that typically have very high salt levels include:
- Chips, crackers, and other processed snack foods
- Canned soups and vegetables
- Deli or sandwich meats
- Condiments, including ketchup, mustard, and salad dressings
4. Go meatless when you can.
Even lean meats are acidic and can increase urine acid. High levels of urine acid can cause uric acid and calcium oxalate kidney stones.
Animal proteins to limit or avoid include:
For more information on how to help keep your kidneys healthy and stone-free, schedule a visit with Dr. Seaman today. Call the office, or use the online booking tool to schedule your appointment.