Painful adult ailment affecting children

By Morgan Chesky - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - email

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - "You'll have so much pain you think you're gonna die and then on the other side you'll have so much pain you're afraid you're not gonna die," said Dr. Tom Turlington with East Texas Medical Center.

Kidney stones, a traditionally adult ailment, is now affecting new patients. Dr. Turlington isn't surprised and said the culprit could be children's changing diet.

"All of the processed food is quick and easy but it certainly may not be the healthiest both from a kidney stone aspect to a cardiovascular aspect," he explained.

Formed by a high concentration of stone-forming mineral salts in the urine, kidney stones become lodged in the urinary tract before eventually leaving your body. One of the main causes behind kidney stones, dehydration, is often overlooked in children.

"It's so easy for kids to get dehydrated because they get busy," he explained. "They don't want to take the time to drink water."

To illustrate the phenomenon, I took a glass of tea and some sugar. The sugar served as the minerals entering your kidneys or bladder, but when your body doesn't intake enough fluids those minerals do what the sugar did - it sits at the bottom, eventually forming a kidney stone. Drinking enough water can help keep those minerals dissolved.

Keeping your children kidney stone free starts with their diet. Cut their intake of salt. Animal protein, in moderation is OK but excess amounts can form stones. Also, eat more oranges or other citrus fruits. Natural acids keep minerals from building up. Most importantly, always stay hydrated.

Doctors say the most common signs your child could be suffering from kidney stones include blood in urine and constant complaints of side or abdominal pain.