Here’s Another Side Effect of Climate Change: Painful Kidney Stones

A new study links higher temperatures with the excruciating condition.
A scanning electron micrograph of a kidney stone. (Photo: Scimat Scimat/Getty Images)
Jul 13, 2014· 0 MIN READ
Kristina Bravo is Assistant Editor at TakePart.

We know that climate change is bad. Because of warmer temps, panicked polar bears stand on melting icebergs with nowhere to go, and the Statue of Liberty might not even survive for future generations to see. Now it’s getting personal: A new study links a warmer climate with a greater chance of developing kidney stones, an agonizing affliction.

“We found that as daily temperatures rise, there is a rapid increase in probability of patients presenting over the next 20 days with kidney stones,” said author Gregory E. Tasian of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, according to CityLab.

The researchers, who published their paper in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, examined 60,433 patients in Los Angeles, Atlanta, Chicago, and other U.S. cities. They concluded that experiencing more hot days—when temperatures hit 81 degrees or higher—could lead to an increased risk of growing a kidney stone.

Though the exact relationship between temperature and kidney stones is unclear, the researchers wrote that heat causes “water loss, urinary concentration, and low urine volume and pH”—all of which promote the accumulation of lithogenic minerals in urine.

“Kidney stone prevalence has already been on the rise over the last 30 years, and we can expect this trend to continue, both in greater numbers and over a broader geographic area, as daily temperatures increase,” wrote Tasian. “With some experts predicting that extreme temperatures will become the norm in 30 years, children will bear the brunt of climate change.”

That’s just something we can’t let pass.