While not all of the kidney stone causes are known, several situations have now been proven to encourage their development. Doctors believe there are a certain amount of people who fall victim to kidney stones due to both genetic factors and the dietary choices they make. For those who are not susceptible, food and lifestyle choices have yet to cause them any harm or cause kidney stones to form. Scientists now realize that varied substances result in different kinds of kidney stones.
To better understand kidney stone causes, research is focused on one tiny area of cells inside the kidney tubules. Here is the source for where scientists believe crystals form into long enough structures to eventually become kidney stones. In reading our other articles, you will see that the primary source for development seems to come from excess amounts of certain substances that build up and become the catalyst for kidney stone growth.
Urine Imbalance Triggers
More than any other trouble area, specific imbalances in salts and minerals, such as calcium, within a kidney stone candidate’s urine seems to hold the key. Certain triggers can lead to significant salt level excess. If the amount of urine is significantly reduced in a kidney stone candidate or if excessive amounts of specific kinds of salts exist, then there is no where for the salts to go. In this case, the salts cannot dissolve and build up instead.
These excess amounts, referred to as “super-saturation,” are contained inside the urine and become the breeding ground for crystal-like formations made out of substances like calcium oxalates, calcium phosphates, and struvites. One crystal may form and then become the basis for others nearby to come together. When all of these crystals merge and begin to grow together, a kidney stone is born.
Besides high levels of salts and minerals, there are other reasons for why imbalances in the substances found in urine can occur. A kidney stones cause can also be triggered by a lack of substances in the urine that are known to actually inhibit the beginning stages of kidney stones.
These substances, known as pyrophosphates, citrates, and magnesium as well as certain types of enzymes and proteins, occur naturally in urine. These substances work as protectors against kidney stone formation. They either create an environment that does not let any of the threatening substances build up to levels that can cause crystals to form or they prevent any existing crystals from attaching and developing into the basis for a kidney stone. However, when these protective substances are reduced or missing, the risk potential for kidney stones greatly increases.
An acid imbalance can also encourage the first stages of kidney stone development. Both the urine’s acidity and alkalinity levels can have a direct impact on how well certain substances are dissolved in the urine. Researchers do know that certain kinds of kidney stones can form when either acid or alkalinity is unbalanced. For example, uric acid stones and cystine stones grow as a result of highly acidic urine.
As our article on calcium kidney stones explains in further detail, other over-the-counter remedies for certain health problems can actually lead to the greater problem of kidney stones. For instance, certain diuretics – also known as water pills – or calcium-based antacids may be directly responsible for increases in calcium levels within the urine – another constituent of possible kidney stone causes.
Other kidney stones causes include physical disorders that put the body in a particular state that makes it a rather easy target for greater risk.
People who take certain drugs that help treat HIV and AIDS have significantly more potential for developing kidney stones. Indinavir is just one example of a drug on the concern list for kidney stone formation.
Personal lifestyle choices can also affect the probability of getting kidney stones. Activities, such as excess alcohol consumption, anorexia or bulimia, can also be attributed to kidney stones causes.
After reviewing all of these kidney stone causes and factors, it is again important to emphasize the fact that taken alone, many of these are not believed to cause kidney stones in the average person. However, all of these examples are potential risks for people who already have a family history of or genetic inclination toward kidney stones.