Summer Increases Risks of Kidney Stones Caused by Dehydration


John Muir Health enhances on-site kidney stone treatment with fixed site lithotripter for use when other therapies, including drinking lemonade, don't work.

Concord, Calif., (June 30, 2015) – With summer officially underway, the new season brings a number of risks along with its rewards. In addition to an increase in warm weather and outdoor-friendly activities, summer poses a higher risk of heat-related dehydration—a condition caused by a lack of water in the body and one of the leading causes of kidney stones.

Doctors recommend increasing the intake of fluids as a solution to prevent dehydration and consequential kidney disease. According to research by Duke University's Comprehensive Kidney Stone Center, drinking lemonade can slow the occurrence of kidney stones over extended periods of time. Lemonade therapy, which encourages drinking the popular summertime beverage of lemon juice and water, boosts the body's intake of natural citrate to help inhibit kidney stones and lessen the need for medication.

In addition to preventative lemonade therapy, doctors advise patients with kidney stone problems to seek appropriate treatment that may include non-surgical lithotripsy. John Muir Health's Concord Medical Center has enhanced access to non-surgical lithotripsy, or extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL), at its facility and patients can now receive kidney stone treatment within 24 to 48 hours.

"We're excited to have a fixed site with the most current technology allowing us to deliver timely care with minimal discomfort to patients," said Dr. Judson Brandeis, urologist at John Muir Health. "One in 10 people will have a kidney stone in their lifetime, which is a trend that has been increasing over the past 30 years. It is important for us to make sure our patients receive the care they need as quickly as possible."

As one of the only health systems in the Bay Area with an on-site lithotripter machine, the Concord Medical Center previously offered lithotripsy treatment on a part-time basis before establishing a dedicated suite and fixed site.

Generating shock waves passing through the body, the lithotripsy machine breaks up the kidney stones into smaller pieces that can pass easily through the urinary tract. The ESWL procedure can take from 45 to 90 minutes, resulting in a recovery time of approximately two hours and patients discharged the same day.

According to the National Institutes of Health, more than 300,000 people go to emergency rooms for kidney stone problems. While they can occur at any age, kidney stones are most common in adults ages 40 and older.

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