Here are eight risk factors for kidney stones:
1. Inadequate fluid intake. Deficient water intake is a common risk factor for developing kidney stones, Simon says. "If the urine is too concentrated (like when it's dark yellow in color), the concentrations of calcium and other stone-causing elements increases," he says.
That bumps up the risk they will crystallize and form kidney stones. Once someone forms a kidney stone or stones for the first time, drinking enough water to urinate about 64 ounces of urine a day may decrease the risk of forming new stones. If someone drinks six to eight cups of fluids per day, they should produce 60 to 65 ounces of urine per day, says Dr. S. Adam Ramin, a urologist and medical director of Urology Cancer Specialists in Los Angeles. He also writes a blog on kidney stones.
The amount of fluids you should drink daily varies depending on age, level of activity and climate. Most people are fine if they consume four to eight glasses of fluids a day, Simon says. In addition to plain water, beverages like milk, juice and herbal teas and fruits like watermelon and vegetables like cucumbers are good sources of fluids.
2. High sodium consumption. Diets high in salt – which have a high sodium content – increase the risk of forming many types of kidney stones, Simon says. Many people think of salt and sodium as the same thing, but they aren't. Salt is a mineral, comprised of sodium and chloride, according to the Heart Foundation. The sodium found in salt is bad for your health. The foundation advises consumers to read food labels to keep track of sodium content.
Higher sodium intake causes the kidneys to put out more calcium into the urine, increasing the calcium concentration. Limiting your sodium intake to 2,000 milligrams a day (or less) has been shown to reduce the risk of forming new kidney stones. Read food labels to keep track of your sodium intake.