It’s one of the most painful conditions you can face. And it’s becoming more common. Experts estimate that at least 10% of people will deal with it at least once in their lifetime.
And talk about unpleasant… Severe back or stomach pain, fever, chills, bloody—or foul-smelling—urine, and vomiting. Some people even need surgery for it.
But new research reveals it may be putting you at risk for more than severe pain and discomfort…
A team of scientists at Guangxi Medical University in China looked at data from over 3.5 million patients. They found that having this condition may make you nearly 20% more likely to experience a heart attack or have a dangerous bypass surgery. And women may be at even higher risk. That’s after adjusting for other cardiovascular risk factors.
But that’s not even all there is to worry about…
Researchers found that this condition doesn’t just put your heart in danger… It may also raise your stroke risk by as much as 40%.1
We’re talking about kidney stones.
They’re hard, crystalline objects that form in your kidney. And they really do look like tiny stones. These stones are made of waste chemicals that usually pass in your urine. They include urate, cysteine, xanthine, and phosphate. The most common culprits are oxalate and calcium.2 They may be small. But they can cause some major misery.
Of course the pain really kicks in when a stone starts causing urine blockage… Not to mention the agony of actually passing one of these stones through your urethra.
So what’s the link to heart disease and stroke?
The researchers believe that the same factors leading to kidney stones put you at risk for heart problems and a stroke. And it makes sense. After all, one of the main causes of kidney stones is eating fructose from sugar and high fructose corn syrup. And with the amount of processed foods you’ll find these in, it’s hard to get away from them.
Then there’s calcium buildup. There’s conflicting research showing that excess calcium may raise your risk of heart disease by up to 20%.3 It has some experts calling for studies looking at whether expelling higher levels of calcium through urine decreases heart disease and stroke risk.4 But there’s also research showing that exercise can lower kidney stone risk by up to 31%.5 It’s why the team suggests lifestyle changes—like diet and exercise—alone may be able to help prevent kidney stones as well as heart disease and stroke.6
Changing your diet is the first step. Get rid of those processed foods. Replace them with the fruits and vegetables that cut stroke risk by at least 32%. Eating animal protein like wild-caught salmon may help lower your likelihood of having a stroke by around 30% as well. Proper hydration, keeping a healthy weight, and regular exercise may help keep kidney stones from developing—and prevent an even scarier health problem.
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